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…

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

Hats off to Political Scrapbook who have created the snazzy Liam Fox advisor business card creator:

Now you too can open doors around the world with no clearance or accountability…

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. 

Boulter Wades In Again: Werritty Loved First Class Travel

Harvey Boulter isn’t the most reliable of witnesses but he raises some intriguing points. He just did an interview with the BBC that could only be described as a hand-grenade. He described Fox’s version of events around their meeting in Dubai as “half truths”. He said Adam Werritty boasted of his love of first class travel…

Boulter also said he told the Guardian to go and “do their homework” when they told him Werritty wasn’t working for them. Given Boulter discussed sensitive information regarding his business and legal disputes, he is demanding to know who paid for Air Miles Adam, but stopped short of accusing him of outright corporate espionage. Petrol on the fire…

Fox and the £100,000 Question

Despite obvious security flaws, saucy innuendo and the potential of government work being done off the books, it’s the paper trail that will decide Fox’s fate. Joe Murphy over at the Standard has been crunching the numbers:

“I’ve done an analysis based on British Airways fares to the various destinations, which included Dubai five times, plus Hong Kong Washington and Singapore twice each.  Exact costs are impossible to determine because fares vary according to demand so I’m basing this on return flights taken this week. Flying in BA’s cheapest economy seats, the 18 trips would cost £25,000 in tickets.  However, if Mr Werritty went business class, his ticket expenses alone would have gone up to £77,146. Now let’s add in two nights stay each trip in a typical £200 a night business hotel, costing another £7,200. That would take the total travel cost to £85,000. But then there are all those dinners at the sort of costly restaurants where one might just bump into a millionaire private equity boss.  With such high subsistence costs, he could easily have spent over £100,000.”

Company House records show that Werritty, who is being interviewed as part of the Cabinet Office/MoD investigation today, has barely made a quarter of that sum through his various consultancy arms. So where did the money come from? Who paid Adam’s way? Until this is answered, this story will not go away…

Fox Trotting: A Meeting In Every Port

London, Israel, Bahrain, Switzerland, Hong Kong, DC, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Qatar, Spain and Florida.

Even Robinson was spluttering last night…

Cocky Huhne Surfaces

A rare thing happened earlier – Chris Huhne popped up for live interviews about his brief on both Sky and the BBC. Given that he has spent the last four months hiding from cameras, desperate not to be drawn in on questions regarding his cowardice and lies, he must be feeling rather lucky.[…]


Punjabi Paper Mocking Sharma

Des Pardes, the UK’s most popular Punjabi newspaper are sticking it to Ealing MP Virendra Sharma and his dodgy £5,000 donation from the Indian government. As Guido reported yesterday, the Electoral Commission are on the case. Funnily enough Sharma isn’t willing to talk to Guido on the phone.[…]


Labour MP Denies Illegal Donation From the Indian Government

Ten days ago the Telegraph ran an intriguing story about Ealing MP Virendra Sharma and a mysterious party he held to celebrate his election victory in May 2010. A host of big names, including David Miliband and Lord Paul, came along to the event that was hosted at the Monsoon Banqueting Suites in Southall.[…]


Apparently They're All Sexy MPs

Belligerent old socialist Paul Flynn has come out with a corker with his updated Westminster survival guide:

“For reasons that are inexplicable, MPs – even the most superficial, unattractive, mis-shapen ones – are attractive to the other sex. It does present serious problems of going astray.



Handy-cock Likes It Both Ways

Now Guido knows that Mike Hancock, self-confessed teen-fondler and LibDem, must have a lot on his mind, let alone his conscience, but it takes a special level of incompetence to manage to sign two completely contradictory Early Day Motions. The pervy Portsmouth MP signed both EDM 2109 – opposing Christians being able to opt-out of equality laws, and EDM 2081 – supporting Christians being able to opt-out of equality laws.[…]


Geoff Gets A+ For His Hoonwork

In 2005 Geoff Hoon was Defence Secretary. In March of that year defence giants Westland got a £1.7billion contract from the MOD. Nobody else was invited to bid. Which was a bit odd.

In 2010 Geoff Hoon was exposed seeking a “little hoonwork” in the form of lobbying work on the side by an undercover sting.[…]


For Huhne the Bell Tolls

“Energy secretary Chris Huhne is launching the first new grid connection to Europe for 25 years today” which must be exciting. A government source just confirmed to Guido that they are keeping Huhne on a very low profile for the next couple of days.[…]


A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Self-confessed teen-fondler Mike Hancock took time out of his busy evening to explain exactly what went wrong for the LibDems in the local elections:

Via Christopher Hope & Co’s valiant all nighter.[…]


Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond at Treasury questions:

“I’m sorry to be boring.”

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.


PMQs Sketch – It’s Rigged! PMQs Sketch – It’s Rigged!
Moment Boulton Realises He’s Still On Air Moment Boulton Realises He’s Still On Air
Through The Keyhole – Open Britain Chairman’s Mansion Through The Keyhole – Open Britain Chairman’s Mansion
Sky – We Need To Talk About Your Glass Box Sky – We Need To Talk About Your Glass Box
Open Britain’s Offshore Hypocrisy Open Britain’s Offshore Hypocrisy
Single Market Round-up Single Market Round-up
Labour Hit With Maximum Expenses Fine Labour Hit With Maximum Expenses Fine
UKIP Candidate’s Gay Donkey Horse Rape Banter UKIP Candidate’s Gay Donkey Horse Rape Banter
UKIP Leadership Latest UKIP Leadership Latest
New Tory Election Poster? New Tory Election Poster?
Diane Abbott Offered Interns £2 Below Living Wage Diane Abbott Offered Interns £2 Below Living Wage
Walkers Factory Was Raided For Illegal Immigrants Walkers Factory Was Raided For Illegal Immigrants
Is This Our New Parliament? Is This Our New Parliament?
Japan’s Single Market Trade Japan’s Single Market Trade
Prezza For Jezza Prezza For Jezza
Man On Sun’s Front Page Is Not Interpreter Man On Sun’s Front Page Is Not Interpreter
Was it Davis or Davies? Was it Davis or Davies?
Multi-Millionaire’s “Hipster Begging” Multi-Millionaire’s “Hipster Begging”
Six Figures For Baroness Scotland’s Friends Six Figures For Baroness Scotland’s Friends
Sadiq Tree Policy Chop Sadiq Tree Policy Chop