Fox affair: the alleged links to Mossad and US radical right

What the papers continue to say about Liam Fox and Adam Werritty.

David Cameron and his team at Number 10 will have been well aware that the Sunday newspapers have been working up new lines on the Liam Fox-Adam Werritty story all week. But they will have hoped, too, that Fox's Friday departure would have taken some of the impetus out of the affair -- at worst, stories meant for the front page will have been relegated to the inside pages; at best, stories dropped entirely.

No such luck. The Sunday Telegraph, Observer and Independent on Sunday all splash on the story, the latter two papers claiming contact between Werritty and the radical right in the United States and between Werritty and the Israeli security agency Mossad respectively. Here's a taste:

 

Liam Fox resignation exposes Tory links to US radical right (Observer)

Key passage:

At the heart of the complex web linking Fox and his friend Adam Werritty to a raft of businessmen, lobbyists and US neocons is the former defence secretary's defunct charity, Atlantic Bridge, which was set up with the purported aim of "strengthening the special relationship" but is now mired in controversy.

An Observer investigation reveals that many of those who sat on the Anglo-American charity's board and its executive council, or were employed on its staff, were lobbyists or lawyers with connections to the defence industry and energy interests. Others included powerful businessmen with defence investments and representatives of the gambling industry.

 

 

Revealed: Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition (Independent on Sunday)

Key passage:

Mr Werritty, 33, has been debriefed by MI6 about his travels and is so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad - who thought he was Mr Fox's chief of staff - that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government, multiple sources have told The IoS.

Some of this has been alleged already. As Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy points out, the former UK ambassador Craig Murray had drawn similar conclusions in a blog post on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

Fox affair: donors' fury over 'lies' (Sunday Telegraph)

Key passage:

One of the donors told The Sunday Telegraph they had been misled over how their money would be spent and had called in lawyers. Another company, whose employee set up Pargav [ the company set up to further Dr Fox's interest in foreign policy] on Mr Werritty's behalf, had instituted a formal investigation by a leading City law firm.

 

All three papers say Adam Werritty and the Foreign Office were variously unavailable for comment as they went to press.

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Recess confidential: Labour's liquid party

Sniffing out the best stories from Westminster, including Showsec, soames, and Smith-side splits.

If you are celebrating in a brewery, don’t ask Labour to provide the drinks. Because of the party’s continuing failure to secure a security contractor for its Liverpool conference, it is still uncertain whether the gathering will take place at all. Since boycotting G4S, the usual supplier, over its links with Israeli prisons, Labour has struggled to find an alternative. Of the five firms approached, only one – Showsec – offered its services. But the company’s non-union-recognition policy is inhibiting an agreement. The GMB, the firm’s antagonist, has threatened to picket the conference if Showsec is awarded the contract. In lieu of a breakthrough, sources suggest two alternatives: the police (at a cost of £59.65 per constable per hour), or the suspension of the G4S boycott. “We’ll soon find out which the Corbynites dislike the least,” an MP jested. Another feared that the Tories’ attack lines will write themselves: “How can Labour be trusted with national security if it can’t organise its own?”

Farewell, then, to Respect. The left-wing party founded in 2004 and joined by George Galloway after his expulsion from Labour has officially deregistered itself.

“We support Corbyn’s Labour Party,” the former MP explained, urging his 522,000 Facebook followers to sign up. “The Labour Party does not belong to one man,” replied Jess Phillips MP, who also pointed out in the same tweet that Respect had “massively failed”. Galloway, who won 1.4 per cent of the vote in this year’s London mayoral election, insists that he is not seeking to return to Labour. But he would surely be welcomed by Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications, Seumas Milne, whom he once described as his “closest friend”. “We have spoken almost daily for 30 years,” Galloway boasted.

After Young Labour’s national committee voted to endorse Corbyn, its members were aggrieved to learn that they would not be permitted to promote his candidacy unless Owen Smith was given equal treatment. The leader’s supporters curse more “dirty tricks” from the Smith-sympathetic party machine.

Word reaches your mole of a Smith-side split between the ex-shadow cabinet ministers Lisa Nandy and Lucy Powell. The former is said to be encouraging the challenger’s left-wing platform, while the latter believes that he should make a more centrist pitch. If, as expected, Smith is beaten by Corbyn, it’s not only the divisions between the leader and his opponents that will be worth watching.

Nicholas Soames, the Tory grandee, has been slimming down – so much so, that he was congratulated by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, on his weight loss. “Soon I’ll be able to give you my old suits!” Soames told the similarly rotund Watson. 

Kevin Maguire is away

I'm a mole, innit.

This article first appeared in the 25 August 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Cameron: the legacy of a loser