I have discovered unpublished criteria used to compile Gus O’Donnell’s official “report” into the Fox/Werritty affair. I was told this yesterday by the office of the Permanent Under Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Werritty’s meetings with foreign or British officials abroad were included. Meetings which occurred in the UK were only included if Fox and Werritty were both present.
Meetings which Werritty held with UK government officials in the UK were excluded where Fox was not present.
It is frankly incredible that a report, ostensibly into whether Werritty had undue influence and access, would deliberately omit the facts of how much influence and access Werritty actually had.
The Matthew Gould meetings may be only the tip of the iceberg. What meetings did Werritty have with other senior FCO officials, with MI6 officials and with MOD officials?
Werritty’s access really was quite astonishing. As the Werritty/Gould email correspondence I published yesterday showed, he was able to get the Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary to meet him one and one, without even giving an explanation of what he wanted. 99.9999% of taxpayers could not get a private meeting with the FCO’s Principal Private Secretary even with an explanation of why they wanted it.
I have been trying to think how to get over to you how difficult this is. Let me try it this way – Richard Branson could probably get such a meeting without explanation, Richard Dawkins probably could not. The vast majority of retired Ambassadors could not get such a meeting. The vast majority of paid lobbyists and think tank employees could not casually get such a meeting without explanation. I could not get such a meeting.
Yet officially Werritty was nothing but a paid lobbyist, the sole employee of an obscure neo-con think tank. But he could get that level of access under both New Labour and the Tories. How and why?