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.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...