Published:

7 comments

6pm ToryDiary: Tinker, tailor, soldier, Osborne – a.k.a: George Smiley's reshuffle

5pm Richard Marsh on Platform: We've faced opposition to health reform before, and we must see it through once again

Screen shot 2011-10-15 at 15.14.33

3.30pm ToryDiary: Here comes the march of the Tory women

3pm WATCH: Philip Hammond arrives at the Ministry of Defence and pays tribute to Liam Fox

2pm ConHomeUSA: Today's American political news

ToryDiary: Was anyone in Government tipped off before the meeting that sealed Fox's fate?

Also on ToryDiary: The Tory Right after Liam Fox

Douglas Murray on Comment:  I'm not a bigot but Paul Goodman is

Local Government:

WATCH: The military challenges facing Hammond

The Defence Secretary quits and the right loses a Cabinet voice as Werritty scandal rages

Screen shot 2011-10-15 at 08.28.20
"Downing Street had expected Dr Fox to use a meeting with Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, on Monday to fight for his political life.  Within hours of The Times publishing full details of the corporate and foreign policy interests funding Mr Werritty as he shadowed the Defence Secretary around the world, Dr Fox decided that his position was untenable. The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman had earlier said that the disclosures in The Times “do draw concerns”." – The Times (£) 

But did the Defence Secretary jump?…

"Dr Fox rang David Cameron on his mobile at lunchtime to tell him he was resigning. The Prime Minister, who was on a visit to his constituency, was said by aides to have been "genuinely surprised"….A damning report on Werritty's role at the heart of Government, prepared by Britain's top civil servant Sir Gus O'Donnell, is expected in days.A source close to the PM said: "David was content for him to continue at least until Sir Gus's report arrived on Monday or Tuesday." – The Sun 

…Or was he pushed?

Screen shot 2011-10-15 at 09.04.32"Officially the defence secretary resigned, but government insiders say the prime minister concluded on Thursday night that Mr Fox would have to go. Mr Cameron’s decision came after new details of how Mr Werritty…came to be funded were made public on Friday. The prime minister was also warned that the Sunday newspapers were planning to run yet more revelations on the affair.  One senior Tory said that the writing was on the wall for Mr Fox when the press started hounding wealthy donors" – Financial Times (£) 

O'Donnell report is set to be damming…

"It is understood that an investigation into Dr Fox’s dealings with Mr Werritty by Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, had concluded that his position was untenable….Sir Gus is to complete an inquiry into links between the Defence Secretary and Mr Werritty over the weekend. Cabinet officials are thought to have been alarmed by the information that has been uncovered, suggesting multiple breaches of Whitehall rules." – Daily Telegraph

Cameron feared that joint appearance with Fox at high-profile military event tomorrow might become a media circus – Daily Telegraph

…But it was the meeting between Michael Hintze and the Times that sealed Fox's fare

Screen shot 2011-10-15 at 08.53.23"Dr Fox’s exit became inevitable after the intervention of PR man Lord Bell, who helped orchestrate a meeting between the Times newspaper and hedge funder Michael Hintze. The Times was given access to accounts from Pargav, whose sole director was Oliver Hylton, a charity adviser to Mr Hintze’s hedge fund CQS. The accounts detailed Mr Werritty’s spending on first class flights and five-star hotels." – Daily Mail

The donors and the downfall – Financial Times (£) 

There is donor fury with Werritty

"Today the Mail reveals that venture capitalist Jon Moulton agreed to fund Mr Werritty’s globetrotting after he bought a defence company that makes components for aircraft including RAF fighter jets and troop transporters. In a shattering blow to Dr Fox’s credibility, Mr Moulton, who gave Mr Werritty’s company Pargav £35,000, made the explosive claim last night that Dr Fox solicited his cash." – Daily Mail

"A private intelligence outfit which helps defence firms and paid for Adam Werritty’s jet-set lifestyle has doubled its profits since Liam Fox became a minister. G3 Good Governance Group gave £15,000 to Pargav Ltd, the company set up by Dr Fox’s best man and former flatmate, which helped fund his globetrotting and extravagant spending." – Daily Mail 

Who paid cash into Pargav's account?

"The Pargav Ltd account was opened on October 14 last year when a company called Barclays PR paid in £5,000…There were also large, anonymous cash donations handed over at bank branches in Westminster. In November 2010, a month after Pargav Ltd had been set up, somebody walked into Lloyds TSB in Butler Place, close to Scotland Yard, and deposited £2,700 in cash. Further cash deposits followed regularly every two to three months, amounting to almost £13,000." – The Times (£)

Fox backer Hintz has defence interests – Daily Mail

Werritty attended talks about arms deal with Israel and China – The Independent

The military were divided over Fox.  Some wanted him to go…

Fox at NATO"By Thursday, serving officers were telling The Times they were infuriated that he had bypassed protocol by hand-picking an officer to work in his private office. They were “now clear” that the allegations swirling around Dr Fox, including his decision to invent the position of second “military assistant” for Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Livesey, made it “impossible for him to carry on”. Another source said that Dr Fox had “undermined” the independence of the military. “This is nepotism of the worst sort,” the source said." – The Times (£) 

…And some wanted him to stay

"Many in the building were still clinging to the hope that he might survive; not because they shared his politics, or believed he had done nothing wrong; they all thought he had been "a bloody fool", as one army commander put it. Rather, those who hoped Fox would stay argued that he was the architect of reforms that would have a profound effect on the military over the next decade, and he should see them through." – The Guardian

Fox: The Editorials

  • "George Osborne has a rule: in politics what makes you strong is also what kills you. And there could hardly be a better example of this law than the fate of Liam Fox." – Times Editorial (£)
  • "The Mail hopes that, after a spell on the backbenches, this able man will return to the Cabinet to make a major contribution both to his party and country." – Daily Mail Editorial
  • "Mr Cameron must be careful that [the Thatcherite wing] of his party does not become even more isolated." – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • "And we still wait to discover why Tories lied about a man in Dr Fox's flat when it was burgled.  The Fox has gone. The stink remains." – The Sun

Fox: Other comment:

Matthew Parris: This is a generational change.  The right's old guard has gone.  Can its new generation marry liberty and authority?

"I am certain the survivors of the party’s post-1997 nuclear winter are not the people to lead that team or shape its mission…Last year brought the most impressive Tory intake I can remember since some of them were born. It is from this new cohort that the impetus and the leadership of the Right must now come. The departure of Liam Fox should help to shift the focus forward. The old Tory Right was another country: BC — Before Cameron — passes into history. “After David” should be their promised land." – The Times (£) 

Charles Moore: The best Ministers want to drive through radical change. Fox's actions were wrong – but watch as Whitehall tries now to clip Gove's wings and curb advisers

"It is the bureaucrats, not the public interest, who will do well out of this fiasco…They will make sure that Dr Fox’s successor has even less political freedom to operate than he did.  Now that Dr Fox has gone, watch as the emboldened established powers turn their fire on Mr Gove – or on whichever secretary of state is trying most actively to take power from the bureaucracy which has misruled us for so long." – Daily Telegraph

  • Liam Fox resignation leaves no trace of blood on David Cameron's hands – Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
  • "Predictably, Dr Fox’s friends have been snarling that he is the victim of 'trial by media'. This is rubbish. Dr Fox is the victim of a series of catastrophic misjudgements" – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • "The Fox affair has educated the public about how international lobby groups can purchase access to, and presumably influence over, members of the government." – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • "The “right” has no ill will to Justine Greening: nor does the “right” think she has been pushing for a more muscular approach to EU negotiation. Now she is in the Cabinet MPs will be watching to see if she will take up the cause." – John Redwood's Blog

Hammond replaces Fox and Greening replaces Hammond: prepare for the rise of more Tory women…

“Philip is a financial expert who has the ability and knack to explain financial issues in simple terms,” said one MP on the Right of the party. “My concern is that I would hope he will be as robust in the defence of important projects such as maintaining the Trident deterrent as Liam was.” Others said that they were glad to see Dr Fox stand down rather than be pushed by the Prime Minister. “But we would have preferred to see another right-winger promoted,” said one." – The Times (£)

…Such as the new Economic Secretary, Chloe Smith

PPC Chloe Smith"She is replaced as Economic Secretary to the Treasury by another woman, Chloe Smith. At just 29, Miss Smith’s rise is nothing short of meteoric. The former management consultant became Britain’s youngest MP in 2009…Miss Smith has brushed off those who suggest she is too young by saying: ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.’ She is replaced as a whip by Greg Hands." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday Nadine Dorries MP on Platform: What women want from David Cameron

> Yesterday's Fox News on ConservativeHome

Bin there, done that: inquiry into Letwin park paper-tossing

"Oliver Letwin, the Prime Minister’s policy adviser, apologised for disposing of the documents, which included private correspondence from constituents. Mr Letwin, a minister in the Cabinet Office, is being investigated by his department and by the data protection watchdog after being seen throwing papers away in the park near Downing Street on five occasions.  No 10 said that Mr Letwin had promised not to ditch any more papers." – The Times (£)

Grant Schapps interview" "You cannot live just where you like at the taxpayer's expense – The Times (£) 

Osborne sees that energy bills are the issue

"When the economy is going through a rough patch it is especially difficult for the bloke holding the purse strings to make himself sufficiently popular to take over. But that is what Osborne is determined to do and using his powers of analysis and foresight it was thus he who embarked upon the most significant gambit of the party conference season.  That gambit was signalled in just a few sentences of his speech: “Britain makes up less than two per cent of the world’s carbon emissions to China and America’s 40 per cent. We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business." – Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express

Chancellor to Euro finance Ministers: sort out Euro crisisThe Sun 

Labour facing rift over schools after free schools U-turnDaily Express 

David Miliband re-emerges to co-host Labour MP talks with John CruddasDaily Express

Cherie Blair disaster party for actor father's 80th birthdayDaily Mail

Other Political News and Comment in brief

  • Blow for Gary McKinnon as U.S. extradition deal deemed ‘fair’ – Daily Mail
  • Private schools win review on charitable status – Financial Times (£)
  • U.N warns Syria is heading for civil war – The Guardian
  • Berlusconi scrapes through vote – Daily Express
  • Poverty isn't just a numbers game – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph
  • The taxman must account – Jesse Norman MP, The Guardian
  • How the NHS's treatment of my disabled daughter has left me with feelings of both enrichment and despair – Ian Birrell, Daily Mail

Email_subscribe

> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

7 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 15th October 2011

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.