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Friday, October 14, 2011 


And so Dr Liam Fox has resigned to spend less time with his best man. If you must step down, it's always a good idea to do it on Friday, suspicious as it is: by Monday the story's usually moved on. It also usually means that the individual has got wind of what's likely to be published on the Sunday, and considering where the scandal appears to be going, into the realms of Fox running a covert policy bought with American money, potentially even with foreign intelligence assets involved, it's shaping up to be the most serious instance of outside influence on a minister for quite some years.

No surprise then that both Fox and the entire Conservative party want to dress this up purely in the realms of Fox doing favours to a long time friend. Not a single Tory it seems is interested in just where the money came from for Werritty to accompany Fox on the many trips abroad, nor why Werritty was meeting up with him in so many exotic locations except apparently to offer moral support. Fox in his resignation letter simply repeats what he said last weekend, that he "mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred". This if anything seems to be an attempt to deflect interest back onto the rumours and whispers surrounding the nature of his friendship with Werritty, which if not completely irrelevant is utterly inconsequential when compared to his role as part of his entourage.

Presuming we still receive Gus O'Donnell's report on the affair, which was framed narrowly along the lines of whether Werritty was organising meetings for Fox with private individuals in exchange for payment, it doesn't even begin to answer why civil servants didn't flag up this arrangement long ago. Once again it's the Guardian that's stepped into the breach, with other newspapers then following up Rupert Neate's initial digging. Additionally, only in the world of politics could Fox be celebrated as being successful for helping take the country into another entirely unnecessary conflict, having six months before helmed a "strategic defence review" which dismissed the prospect of a war along the lines of that in Libya.

The removal of another neo-con from a position of power, an individual with the brass neck to give a war criminal the "Medal of Freedom" at a dinner for his now wound-up Atlantic Bridge charity, is something to be welcomed. A full inquiry into Werritty's involvement with Fox is now urgently required.

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