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

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. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

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. The police thought he would be charged weeks ago and the CPS are certainly dragging their feet. He’s also given an interview to Prospect. Amongst the usual moans about losing the AV vote, Huhne seems to twist the knife on Clegg some what. He thinks Clegg would be “a tremendous” EU trade commissioner – the definition of damning with faint praise. He was quick to qualify his words though:

“It seems completely ridiculous to think of anything other than Nick continuing as leader of the party. He’s a lot younger than me, more than ten years younger than me for Christ’s sake, and I think that Nick will see out my time in politics.”

Unless the CPS chicken out, Nick isn’t going to have to wait much longer…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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. Something to hide perhaps?


Seen Elsewhere

Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft
5 Tips for Tory Moles | LabourList
Time for a Labour Speaker | ConservativeHome
Austin Mitchell Shows Why People Hate Politicians | LabourList
Commons Should Reject Aussie Rules | Telegraph
Galloway Interviewed By Police | Standard


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Labour MP Austin Mitchell discusses female MPs on Newsnight:

“Are they more leadable? I don’t know, I think they probably are.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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