MoD hunts for reports submitted by Adam Werritty

If records show friend was paid adviser, Fox would be in breach of ministerial rules

The Ministry of Defence has been asked by the Cabinet Office to trawl their records for any reports on defence or foreign policy issues submitted to the department by Liam Fox's unofficial aide Adam Werritty, The Independent understands.

If such documents exist, it may leave Mr Fox open to charges that he was using Mr Werritty, whose income supposedly came from a number of wealthy right-wing benefactors, as an adviser and put the Defence Secretary in breach of ministerial rules.

His aides were forced to mollify Mr Werritty yesterday after he was traduced in private briefings to journalists as a "Walter Mitty figure" who was "masquerading" as someone much more influential than he was.

He had already agreed to go co-operate in the questioning and had become distressed by the attacks behind his back. A senior Tory source said: "It was a strange strategy to take and it has now been discontinued. We are not sure what was supposed to be gained by upsetting Adam Werritty, who says he can show he did not make money out of his contacts with Liam Fox."

Labour last night called on the Government to publish the terms of reference of Gus O'Donnell's inquiry amid fears that it would not address all the issues about Mr Fox's relationship with Mr Werritty. A source close to the inquiry suggested the investigation was focusing on the question of whether Mr Werritty had received specific payments directly linked to the setting up of meetings with Mr Fox.

Mr Werritty is thought to have denied receiving money for setting up meetings with Mr Fox, but admitted receiving income from wealthy individuals, which allowed him to travel extensively with the Defence Secretary.

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, said he had spoken to someone with access to the Cabinet Office investigation into Fox's relationship with Mr Werritty who told him it was looking only at the question of facilitating meetings.

"The investigation into Werritty's finances will look only at the question of whether he received specific payments that can be linked directly to the setting up of specific meetings with Fox," he said. "The answer is thought to be no; that is what Fox was indicating by his formulation to the House of Commons that Werritty was 'not dependent on any transactional behaviour to maintain his income'."

Jim Murphy MP, Labour's shadow defence secretary, said it was "barely believable" the Government had refused to publish the terms of reference of the inquiry. "It is troubling that we have not had any formal indication of the issues that will be covered or, crucially, the standards by which the Defence Secretary's conduct will be judged," he said.

The Labour MP Anas Sarwar called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the suggestion that Mr Werritty had been supported by "a number of wealthy private clients" who shared his and Mr Fox's strong Atlanticist views.

In a letter to the watchdog, Mr Sarwar said there had been "potential breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000" as anonymous donations were illegal.

Referring to reports that Mr Werritty was effectively a privately-funded adviser to the Defence Secretary, he wrote: "If true, this would be a donation to Liam Fox, which would legally have to be declared."

David Cameron dismissed suggestions that he would be "a weak leader" if he allowed Mr Fox to be hounded out of office by a media campaign.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life