So, who paid for Adam Werritty’s air miles? This is the question going around Westminster this afternoon. James blogged yesterday that No10 has set two tests: was Werritty being paid by defence companies, and did Fox know about it?
From what I understand, the answers to both are "no". Werritty was not paid by any defence company — or, indeed, any company at all. His funds were provided by individual donors, who do not have even a tangential interest in the defence industry. His job was to network and provide updates about politics in general. His donors are interested in affairs in the Gulf and the Middle East, about energy security and other such issues — so this involved going to a lot of conferences, and a lot of travel.
He worked (and travelled) alone, so would meet Fox, his friend, when their itineraries combined. They did so, as we know now, on far too many occasions. Yes, it looks very, very weird. That Werritty had a job as a global networker is even odder: you don’t see these vacancies advertised very often in The Economist.
But the test remains: was there wrongdoing? For it to be corrupt there would need to be a commercial interest — and Fox’s allies are clear that there was none. All this lies with the outgoing permanent secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, who is conducting a joint investigation with the MoD’s permanent secretary, Ursula Brennan. They aim to report by next Monday.
UPDATE: The conspiracy theories about Werrity are escalating. Channel Four news has tonight claimed that he offered to "secure arms supplies" for Sri Lankans. A bold claim to make, especially given that the source was anonymous. My understanding is that Werrity has almost zero knowledge about the defence industry, so that sounds utterly implausible.