Adam Werritty: Friend with a jet-set lifestyle – but no clear source of income

 

Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, had been due to have a stress-free day today, officiating at a ceremony in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, as the keel of the next British nuclear submarine is lowered into the cradle where the rest of the vessel will be constructed.

The ceremony is supposed to bring good luck, but given Mr Fox's luck, future crews may be thankful he was not there.

The Defence Secretary's troubles come from the strange, shadowy world of a mysterious consultant named Adam Werritty, a man who lives a jet-setting life while appearing to have little visible means of support. Mr Werritty is not in politics, nor is he precisely in business, though he has been a director of several registered companies. He operates in the no-man's-land where politicians and businessmen meet.

Last night it was reported that a group of wealthy backers funded Mr Werrity's trips, only adding to the intrigue of the circles in which he mixes.

He is the son of a distinguished academic, Alan Werritty, but his entire career appears to have been built on one valuable contact he made while he was a student at Edinburgh University.

Mr Fox, Scottish by birth, was the Opposition spokesman on Scottish devolution, and Mr Werritty, his junior by 17 years, was studying public policy. They found that they shared the same broad ideas on foreign policy. When Mr Werritty graduated, he moved to London to work for the private healthcare company, PPP. Between 2002 and 2003, he lived in a spare room in Mr Fox's flat in Southwark, south London. In 2002, aged 24, he was listed as a director and later company secretary of a small firm called UK Health. In February 2005, he took on another directorship, in a company called UK Health Group Ltd. While Mr Werritty was running these companies, Mr Fox was Shadow Health Secretary. In 2005 – the year Mr Werrity was best man at Mr Fox's wedding – David Cameron drew up a new Shadow Cabinet, with Mr Fox taking the defence brief. Very soon, Mr Werritty began taking a professional interest in defence matters.

In 2006, he became a director of a group called Security Futures, which no longer exists. In February 2007, he became sole director of a firm called Danscotia Consulting, which had a net worth of £3,727 in 2010.

All of these firms appear to have tiny turnovers, unlike the well-funded Atlantic Bridge, founded by Liam Fox, of which Mr Werritty became UK executive director in 2007. This was registered as a charity in the UK and as a tax exempt, not-for-profit organisation in the US, but in 2010, an investigation by the Charity Commission ruled that Atlantic Bridge was not simply an educational charity, but a group fighting for a political cause.

Mr Werritty was paid £90,000 for the three years he was running Atlantic Bridge, after which he lost his most visible source of income, which did not stop him living a globe-trotter's life. One possible source of new funds for Mr Werritty's lifestyle could be number of rich right-wing benefactors – who are known to be close to Mr Fox.

These include Michael Lewis, who donated to Dr Fox's 2005 campaign for the Tory leadership and paid for Mr Werritty to attend at least one conference in the Middle East.

Mr Werritty's career may also been advanced by the hedge fund manager, and Tory Party donor Michael Hintze. Mr Hintze, who is worth £550m, has given £1.5m to the Tories since 2005, arranged a transatlantic flight from Washington for both Mr Fox and Mr Werritty in May. Sources say that Mr Lewis and Mr Hintze share many of Dr Fox's political objectives – though it is not know if either has ever directly paid Mr Werritty.

Yesterday, Mr Fox's people were claiming that Mr Werritty is a fantasist who abused his friendship with the Defence Secretary.

There is indeed something fantastic about his life story, but the jet-setting and the meetings with powerful politicians were real enough. As the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell investigates the story, he will want to know who paid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Technicians - Prestige Brand

£22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A passionate and experienced Head Chef i...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 Drivers

£31700 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist wholesaler owned and man...

Recruitment Genius: Laser and Router Operative

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Laser and Router Operative is...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones