Friday, October 14, 2011

Meet Liam Fox For Cash

This arrived in Guido’s inbox at 12.48. It will no longer cost you a £10,000 retainer with a lobbying firm for some face-time with Liam:

Hammersmith Conservative Association Annual Dinner – Tuesday 29th November

All of our members will also receive an invitation in the post, but can I take this opportunity to formally invite you all to our Hammersmith Conservative Association Annual Dinner for 2011.

· We have great pleasure in announcing that the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Defence will be our speaker. I am sure he will be a lively and fascinating speaker.

· The dinner will be at Jamie’s Italian, Ariel Way – a fabulous location with excellent food.

· Tickets: £65. Dress: lounge suit.

Cheques made payable to Mr. A. Werritty?

Fox Off – CONFIRMED

Rumour Mill Says Fox Might Go Tonight

And so the “Dear David/Dear Liam” rumour mill begins. Paul Waugh tweets that he is picking up chatter that Fox will walk tonight. It would make sense and take the sting out the inevitable savaging by the Sundays, but then it would also be out of character. Guido did a quick text around to be told the it was a load of cobblers. But then they will say that until they are setting up a microphone…

UPDATE: Speculation mounting. Think it’s Foxtrot Oscar time…

The Emerging Accounts Mystery

The Times allegations against Adam Werritty and his funders are so explosive because they are so detailed. Not only do they have the £147,000 coming in, but they also have the breakdown of account spending across the world which would imply the paper has seen all of the bank details. Clues to who might have leaked those are littered throughout the story:

“Oliver Hylton, a charity adviser to the head of CQS, a multibillion-pound hedge fund, befriended Mr Werritty through mutual Tory contacts. He became a director of Security Futures, the now defunct defence and energy consultancy that was also established by Mr Werritty, and agreed to become the sole director of Pargav in June last year — a move he acknowledged was “naive”. He came into my office and said I want to set up a new company. It sounds ridiculously naive in hindsight, but I agreed. I signed the documents and nothing more,” Mr Hylton said.”

As Guido reported yesterday CQS have bought in the spinners in order to handle this story and a quick glance over the list of other donors does not point to anyone who would have had the same access to the books. Given that he had a desk there, Werritty would have been in and out of the CQS offices, but it’s the “naive” Mr Hylton who, as the sole director, would have had to sign off said accounts…

UPDATE: Since publishing this post Guido has more and more reason to believe in a collusion between CQS/Hintze/Bell and this Times story. The other explanation is someone blagged the bank accounts of course. Lots of private spooks about…

UPDATE II: Oliver Hylton has been suspended suggesting he was the source of the leak.

The Detail That The Guardian Left Out Last Week

As the Fox saga rumbles on, this morning’s front-pages will be the most difficult for the Defence Secretary to face since Monday. The money trail is unravelling a rapid pace. However, it was a small detail in the Guardian story about the stag night of Fox’s official adviser Luke Coffey, that has got chins wagging. They claim that Fox extended his stop-over in Dubai on the way back from the front for “a boozy affair; they were drinking huge cocktails and they caused quite a stir.” Fox was not on leave at the time:

Fox arrived in Dubai on 17 June and immediately met Werritty. After their meeting with Dubai-based British businessman Harvey Boulter on the 41st floor of the Shangri-la hotel the pair are understood to have spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool and in Werritty’s hotel room.

There was a lot of speculation that the Guardian were leaving certain details out of their reporting last week in the expectation that they could get Fox regardless. As he digs in, it seems those concerns have gone out of the window…

UPDATE: Though it’s behind the The Times paywall, the most damning revelation today is the fact that one of the donors to Air Miles Adam was a private intelligence firm. Werritty’s non-profit Pargrav is under intense scrutiny:

“Details of Pargav’s accounts, seen by The Times, show that G3 Good Governance Group, a strategic advisory company, Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, the chairman of BICOM — an organisation that lobbies the British Government on behalf of Israel — and Jon Moulton, a venture capitalist, were among more than six different entities that each paid up to £35,000 to Pargav since October last year”

Tricky…

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Michael Hintze: For Whom the Bell Spins

Flying in from China to face the growing music, Michael Hintze, the donor in the spotlight regarding Liam Fox’s shadow operation, is said to have hired Lord Bell to spin for him this morning. Hintze, the chairman of the hedge fund CQS, gave Adam Werritty a desk in his Grosvenor Place office and is one of his key benefactors. Given that the Sunday papers are crawling over anyone who has ever given Fox a penny, it seems Hintze is getting ready for a fight… 

UPDATE: It looks like they are keeping it cosy. Richard Alston the Non-Executive Director of Bells’s Chime Communications (which owns Bell Pottinger,) also sits on the international advisory board of CQS. Bell Pottinger also represent the Sri Lankan government and have worked closely with Liam Fox in the past.

Big Blow For Fox

The Heff, with a seemingly heavy heart, has called for Fox to go:

It is what we now know about what the two men did in the public eye that makes Dr Fox’s position so precarious.

If even some of us who are sympathetic to Dr Fox’s politics feel he now lacks the credibility to do his job, what must his opponents think?

At the moment, he is dying  by inches in public with each new revelation about his behaviour.

Heffer’s assertion comes on the back of another round of dodgy headlines for Defence Secretary. The news that private donors were running their own adviser for Fox in order to by-pass the Civil Service is only going to anger more people. Especially as there is no declaration of interest. Werritty looks set to be interviewed again today by Sue Gray, the Cabinet Office’s Director of Propriety and Ethics. You have to wonder how he will react to being compared to Walter Mitty…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fox Trashes Werritty

Another key development in the fox-hunt from Joe Murphy at the Standard. He has got the text of “friends of Fox” attempting to trash his bestest friend Adam Werritty. Murphy stresses that he believes this is what Fox told GOD:

“It is clear that Werritty was masquerading as something he was not. He was hanging around and popping up in places, trying to be part of a group. This guy was clearly a Walter Mitty figure.

It’s fair to say that he [Fox] was naive about Adam Adam did arrive in certain places and took advantage of his friendship with Liam. It will be a very different friendship in future.”

If the government are calling you Walter Mitty, Guido doesn’t recommend you go for a walk in the woods any time soon…

Jobs for the Boys

Fox in Burglary Admission

Despite the fact that the investigation into his activities is now directly hindering his job as Defence Secretary, Liam Fox is still fighting. Instead of giving press conferences in Paris, he is up this morning with new tactics. His old campaign manager Chris Grayling was on the the Today program saying “I think we’ve got past the point in politics where we needed to worry about people’s private lives.” This is true unless those private and public lives are tangled and blurred in such a way as this.

Fox has clearly briefed Nick Robinson who pushes the victim of a hate campaign idea. The line of Werritty seems to be:

” …when Werritty handed out business cards claiming to be an adviser to Mr Fox that was pretty close to the truth. In government, just as he had in opposition, he wanted to talk to someone who thought like he did, who could ask the questions he would, who was on his side.”

No harm in that, but the problem for Fox is that this was being funded by Tory donors, off the books, with no accountability, no restraint and no one beside Fox have the faintest idea what this man was doing.

Elsewhere the side story is gaining traction. The Sun forced a statement out of Fox late last night after they revealed that Tory spinners had kept quiet that a “younger man”, not Werritty, was staying with Fox the night he was burgled in 2010. The Mail also questions why Fox was tail-ending his official trips with extra nights spent with Werritty:

Still no smoking gun, but Fox can’t be far off death from a thousand cuts. 


Seen Elsewhere

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



“Digger” Murdoch says:

Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,550 other followers