British defence minister faces new claims about advisor

LONDON, October 13, 2011 (AFP) – Britain’s defence minister faced renewed pressure Thursday over claims that rich backers paid for the best man at his wedding to travel the globe with him despite not being a government official. Liam Fox again rejected calls to resign over his links to his close friend Adam Werritty, who posed as the minister’s advisor and accompanied him on 18 overseas visits to countries including Sri Lanka and Dubai.

The BBC reported that 34-year-old Werritty was being bankrolled by several wealthy private clients who shared Fox’s private foreign policy views, which are said to be more eurosceptic and pro-US than the government’s.

The defence spokesman for the opposition Labour party, Jim Murphy, said the claims “blow a hole” in Fox’s defence and that there would be a clear breach of ministerial guidelines if Werritty was being paid as an unofficial adviser.

Fox, 50, said on Thursday he was concentrating on his job, especially as the conflict in Libya appeared to be nearing its end.

“I’m continuing to do what is needed at the moment which is that the defence secretary focuses on defence issues,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after attending a national security cou