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Werritty met Miliband official

Jane Merrick
Sunday 08 January 2012 01:00 GMT

Adam Werritty, Liam Fox's former adviser whose activities led to the Defence Secretary's resignation, held official talks with a senior civil servant at the Foreign Office when Labour was in power, it emerged last night.

Details released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Mr Werritty met Matthew Gould, principal private secretary to David Miliband when he was Foreign Secretary, on 8 September 2009.

The disclosure is the first link between Mr Werritty and the Labour government. It was not included in a report by Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, into the shadowy adviser's contacts with government figures at the height of the Fox affair last October.

Mr Gould is now ambassador to Israel and met Mr Werritty on eight occasions – including a dinner for Dr Fox, when he was Defence Secretary, and senior Israeli intelligence officials.

The full list of meetings was released by the Foreign Office after an FOI request from Craig Murray, a former ambassador who has been investigating the saga. He said last night that it "proves beyond doubt that Werritty/FCO contacts were much more extensive than have ever been admitted".

At the time of Dr Fox's resignation, the Foreign Office and No 10 tried to downplay Mr Werritty's role.

Mr Gould remained as principal private secretary to the Foreign Secretary when William Hague took over under the coalition government. Mr Werritty met Mr Gould on 16 June 2010 and again during that summer at a "social" event.

Both meetings were omitted from Sir Gus's report. Mr Werritty met Mr Gould, after he had become ambassador to Israel, twice in September 2010. Mr Gould then arranged the private dinner at the Herzilya conference in Israel in February 2011.

It was this dinner and other contacts that Mr Werritty had with senior Israeli officials which sparked claims, reported by The Independent on Sunday last year, that he was acting to help Israel in its fight against Iran. Mr Werritty could not be contacted for comment last night.

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