Fox: What we know. What we don't know. What we need to know

The key issues: So Liam Fox has resigned, but he leaves behind some very awkward questions. Brian Brady looks at the facts, and gaps, so far

The 'adviser'

What we know

Adam Werritty, Liam Fox's best man and former flatmate, posed as the then Defence Secretary's adviser and met him 40 times at the Ministry of Defence and on official visits around the world, despite not being on the payroll.

What we need to know

What was his relationship with Fox? Did he do any work for him or to fund his political objectives? What was his real business? How often did the two men meet outside of the MoD but in the UK? Did Werritty profit from his relationship with the Defence Secretary? Was Fox involved in raising money to fund Werritty's work?

The business links/funders

What we know

Werritty's three directorships with minor companies provide little insight into how he funded his jet-setting lifestyle. But it has emerged he had access to almost £150,000 paid into the account of Pargav Ltd by wealthy right-wing donors. He is not listed on Pargav's official documents.

What we need to know

What was he doing in return for this money? Did his areas of interest coincide with Fox's ministerial duties? Where else does he earn his money? Do similar firms provide funding along the lines of the Pargav arrangement?

Werritty's influence behind the scenes

What we know

Werritty's meetings with Fox included a dinner in Florida with US General John R Allen, before he became commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan. But further events, including a lavish dinner in Washington last year hosted by the US branch of the Atlantic Bridge charity, were not declared. He also had access to Fox's ministerial diary.

What we need to know

Why was Werritty allowed such access and did he profit from it? Are there more undeclared meetings and who were they with? Why was he shown the diary and did he observe strict secrecy over its contents?

Other aides

What we know

Fox faced questions last year over his decision to install Luke Coffey, a former US army captain, in the MoD as his special adviser. He subsequently angered the military when he forced through the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Livesey as a second military assistant in his private office. He also took advice from US defence lobbyist John Falk, whose job was to help military companies win contracts.

What we need to know

Did his range of unconventional advisers affect his judgement on key decisions? Was Fox unduly affected by the influence of sectional interests, including lobbyists and consultants?

The charity

What we know

Fox set up the Atlantic Bridge charity to strengthen the "special relationship" in 1997. It was later run by Werritty, from the MP's parliamentary office. It was recently dissolved by its trustees after criticism by the Charity Commission. The commission said it does not know what happened to the £36,000 left in the organisation's accounts.

What we need to know

What was Atlantic Bridge for – was it really a charity or a talking-shop for right-wingers in the UK and US? What work did Werritty do for the organisation? What has happened to the money in its accounts when the charity was dissolved?

Sri Lanka

What we know

Fox set up, with Werritty, the Sri Lanka Development Trust to fund post-conflict and redevelopment in the country after the civil war. Fox and Werritty met in Sri Lanka in July this year, when the then Defence Secretary held talks with the president and senior ministers. But the trust is not registered as a charity or a company in the UK.

What we need to know

What was Werritty doing in Sri Lanka? What does the trust do? Who works for it and who funds it? Is its work in line with UK foreign-policy objectives?


What we know

Werritty went to Iran with Fox in the summer of 2007, and it is believed Werritty went to the country alone on several occasions. He has also met with Iranian opposition groups in Washington and London, amid claims he was involved in efforts to topple President Ahmadinejad.

What we need to know

Did Fox know the extent of Werritty's travels to Iran? And were the trips licensed by him? Did Fox know Werritty was trying to topple the Ahmadinejad regime, and if so, did he try to stop it?

The USA connection

What we know

Fox, described as "a committed Atlanticist", has strong links with a series of American organisations and visits the country often. His former aide Mike Threadgould is now in Washington with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. However, opponents criticise Fox's links with the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a major US lobbying organisation which set up a sister charity also known as Atlantic Bridge, and funded Fox's organisation with £28,528.

What we need to know

How close is Fox to the neo-conservative element in US politics? How close are his ties with Alec, and does he share the policy goals of the US Atlantic Bridge? Were these entirely in line with UK government policy while he was at the MoD?

The Cameron connection

What we know

The concentration on the funding of British politicians and lobbyists has moved beyond Fox and brought his colleagues and his party leader into the spotlight. Michael Hintze, the billionaire who donated £29,000 to Atlantic Bridge and allowed Werritty to work from a desk in his offices, is, like many of the other tycoons named, a key Tory donor. He has handed over £1.4m – including individual donations to Fox, George Osborne, Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister himself.

What we need to know

What do the donors get in return for their financial support? Did they exert pressure on David Cameron to ease Fox out of the Government – or even take the decision out of his hands?

The inquiries

What we know

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, will continue his inquiry into alleged breaches of the ministerial code and will come under pressure to publish it. The Electoral Commission is certain to launch an inquiry into the declaration of donations. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is also expected to investigate claims that Liam Fox broke rules on registering interests.

What we need to know

Labour is stepping up the pressure on the Prime Minister by asking when he knew about the Fox-Werritty arrangement, and why he did not step in earlier. It is still unclear if all of Werritty's financial arrangements have been made public, and Fox's resignation will not stop the media digging around. The police could still be asked to investigate any possible improprieties.

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