Liam Fox has made clear that he thinks there are some deeply suspect motives on the part of those who are trying to bring him down. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that at the time, but I am now beginning to build up a pretty good picture. And it ain’t pretty. It all seems to revolve around this Harvey Boulter character (chief executive of Porton Capital), who has been the one feeding details of his Dubai meeting to an all too willing Guardian newspaper.
Mr Boulter is in a legal dispute with 3M and George Buckley in the United States. It is entirely possible that both Adam Werrity and Liam Fox may be called to give evidence in the court hearings. So it is clear that from Mr Boulter’s point of view, if he can discredit Werrity and Fox as witnesses it will be ‘job done’. In essence, that’s what all this seems to be about. And Boulter thinks he has done a pretty good job so far.
One of Boulter’s allegations is that he discussed with Liam Fox in Dubai the position of George Buckley’s knighthood. Indeed, he has said that Fox promised to bring it up in Cabinet and recommend that the knighthood would be rescinded. As you can imagine, The Guardian was all over this like a rash. But unfortunately they omitted a vital part of the story and one can only speculate on their motives for doing so. Had they told their readers the full story, they might have been less outraged.
I have seen an email dated 14 July from the Porton Group, Boulter’s company, in which they deny any such discussion with Liam Fox ever took place concerning the rescinding of George Buckley’s knighthood. Here’s the relevant passage…
“At the end of the meeting, in the presence of others, Mr Boulter provided Dr Fox with a brief update on the litigation with 3M, concerning Acolyte, a rapid MRSA detection technology invented at Dstl (the research agency of the MoD). The MoD recently stated publically that “Dr Fox met with Mr Boulter to discuss an entirely different matter. At no point did he enter into any discussion about this legal case, nor was there any mention of anyone’s knighthood.” While Mr. Boulter did update Dr. Fox on the litigation with 3M in, he did not enter into a discussion with Dr. Fox over the issue of Mr Buckley’s knighthood.”
So, are we expected to believe that The Guardian didn’t know about this email? Are we really expected to believe that? THIS is what their journalist, Rupert Neate, wrote on 4 October…
“Hours after the meeting, which was not attended by officials and at which no notes were taken, Harvey Boulter, chief executive of Porton Capital, emailed 3M looking for a payment of $30m (£18m) to settle a dispute over the sale of a potentially lifesaving treatment to the US company and mentioning the award of a knighthood to 3M’s British-born chief executive, Sir George Buckley. The email said: “As a result of my meeting [with Liam Fox] you ought to understand that David Cameron’s cabinet might very shortly be discussing the rather embarrassing situation of George’s knighthood … At a headline of $30m+ you will allow the MoD to internally save face.”
How does that fit with the Porton Group statement in an email dated 14 July which says…
“While Mr. Boulter did update Dr. Fox on the litigation with 3M in, he did not enter into a discussion with Dr. Fox over the issue of Mr Buckley’s knighthood.”
I find it inconceivable that Rupert Neate and The Guardian weren’t aware of this when the story was written.
So, Mr Neate, over to you. Did you know about the Porton statement or not? If you did, why didn’t you include it? And if you didn’t, would you now like to correct one of your allegations? And if this one is so shaky, it does rather make one wonder about the others, doesn’t it?
As I said at the outset, there seems to be more to this than meets the eye. Follow the money. Whose interest does it serve if Liam Fox and Adam Werrity are discredited? Harvey Boulter and his company. Perhaps The Guardian’s investigative resources might be deployed looking into him, as well as the Defence Secretary. So far they seem to have swallowed Boulter’s version of events hook, line and sinker.