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Liam Fox: I'm focusing on job

Fox says he is concentrating on defence issues amid fresh claims over the financial affairs of his friend Adam Werritty

Liam Fox has insisted he is focusing on his job amid mounting questions over the financial affairs of his close friend and self-styled adviser, Adam Werritty.

New claims that wealthy backers of Fox had funded Werritty's work and travel appeared to "blow a hole" in the defence secretary's position, Labour said.

Werritty will be questioned for a second time by senior civil servants investigating his relationship with Fox either on Thursday or Friday.

The defence secretary, who pulled out of a keel-laying ceremony for a new submarine in Barrow scheduled for Thursday, said he had been attending a meeting of the National Security Council.

He said the fall of the last pro-Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte was "getting very close" in Libya, potentially bringing the conflict to an end.

"That is what I have to focus all my attention on," he told reporters as he arrived at the Ministry of Defence.

"I'm continuing to do what is needed at the moment which is that the defence secretary focuses on defence issues."

It has been reported that Werritty was being bankrolled by a number of wealthy private clients who shared his and Fox's strong Atlanticist views.

Werritty, whose links with the politician are being investigated by the UK's leading civil servant, was remunerated for "political and strategic advice", he said.

The shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, said that if Werritty was being paid as an unofficial adviser – something denied by the Conservatives – it would constitute a "clear breach" of ministerial rules.

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