Written by 'The Lurcher'; an occasional contributor to ConservativeHome.
I think it’s time to subject the allegations against Liam Fox to a little forensic scrutiny. Let’s start with the Guardian/Observer, which is leading the frenzy.
1) The Guardian alleges that Adam Werritty “described himself as an adviser to the secretary of state on business cards.” This isn’t correct. He described himself as an “adviser to the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP.” That’s a significant distinction. The business card did not mention Fox’s role as Secretary of State. They did not refer to the MoD or carry its logo. The reason this is important is that Cabinet Ministers have “special advisers” who are bound by a specific code of practice. MPs can and do have advisers, but they are not bound by that code. The card, which carried the Portcullis logo, is a card a parliamentary advisor might carry, not a ministerial adviser.
2) It’s also evident that Werritty made this clear in his dealings. The Guardian’s chief source appears to be Harvey Boulter of the Porton Group. The Guardian reports that Werritty e-mailed Boulter saying he had “passed this [Boulter's concerns about a legal battle] to one of the Special advisers and I'd hope they'd want to make an issue out of this but that's about all I can do on this". In other words Werritty was not holding himself out to be a special adviser, but something different and rather less influential.