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Widen Fox probe, Labour demands

Labour has called for the probe into Liam Fox's links with friend and lobbyist Adam Werritty to be broadened despite his resignation as Defence Secretary.

The Opposition insisted the public still needed to know who profited from their close relationship and whether national security had been compromised.

The demand came as Philip Hammond and Justine Greening completed their first full day in charge of the Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport respectively.

Mr Hammond said he was "sad" about Dr Fox's departure, but "honoured" to have been given the job.

Dr Fox's decision to step down came amid reports that Mr Werritty's jet-set lifestyle following him around the world was funded by a company bankrolled by wealthy Tory backers.

The prominent venture capitalist Jon Moulton claimed he had been approached by the Defence Secretary following last year's general election to provide funds for Pargav, a not-for-profit company set up by Mr Werritty.

Questions have also been raised over a potential conflict of interest with Mr Moulton's £60 million purchase of British defence firm Gardner UK in February 2010.

Eight months after acquiring the company, which makes components for aircraft including RAF fighter jets and troop transporters, he reportedly gave £35,000 to Pargav.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell is still due to complete his probe into Dr Fox's links with Mr Werritty - who appeared to be effectively acting as an aide even though he had no official role at the MoD or with the Tory party. He is expected to be highly critical of the arrangement when the results are published.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "Liam treated Adam Werritty as a good friend. Adam Werritty seems to have treated Liam Fox like some sort of franchise to make money from. So we need to know as part of the inquiry just where's the money? Why has Liam resigned? Let's continue to carry out the investigation and if need be, broaden the investigation further."


From Belfast Telegraph