UK’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox quits as pressure mounts

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 October 2011, 16:05 GMT]
UK’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox has resigned from his post Friday afternoon amid mounting pressure over his working relationship with his flatmate and self-styled adviser Adam Werritty. Dr. Fox was widely accused of running a ‘shadow foreign policy’ on Sri Lanka and undermining Britain’s official foreign policy, a mysterious trust he set up to solicit private sector contributions to ‘development’ in Sri Lanka – with Mr. Werritty as its key contact - seems to have done nothing other than fund his visits to the island, and now it appears that Mr. Werritty’s globe-trotting to numerous places Dr. Fox was also visiting on official business, has been partly funded by a corporate intelligence company with “a close interest” in Sri Lanka.

Liam Fox
Liam Fox
The resignation of Dr. Fox has come after a week long allegations about how he secretly retained an informal adviser who was funded by several business groups.

In a letter to David Cameron, Mr Fox said he had “mistakenly allowed” his personal and professional responsibilities to become “blurred”, but in his response, the prime minister has said he was very sorry for Mr Fox's departure but “understood his reasons”.

According to BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson, the Britsh PM had concluded that Mr Fox “could no longer stay in his job” amid continuing questions about his links to his former flatmate Adam Werritty.

It emerged that the lobbyist Werrity had accompanied the defence secretary on 18 foreign trips, despite having no official role, and had been handing out business cards suggesting he was an adviser to Mr Fox.

Mr. Werritty, it has also transpired, has long been a key ‘unofficial’ aide for Dr. Fox in his dealings with the Sri Lankan regime, accompanying the Defence Secretary to meetings with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris, and flying out ahead of Dr. Fox’s visits to Sri Lanka to liaise with Colombo officials.

Mr Fox was being investigated by the Cabinet Secretary amid claims that he had broken the ministerial code.

According to the BBC, Mr Fox in his resignation letter has said he had mistakenly allowed the distinction between his “personal interest” and his government activities to become “blurred”.

“The consequences of this have become clearer in recent days," he added. "I am very sorry for this. I have also repeatedly said that the national interest must always come before personal interest”.

“I now have to hold myself to my own standard. I have therefore decided, with great sadness, to resign from my post as secretary of state for defence”, Mr. Fox has been quoted as saying.

Mr Fox earlier this week apologised to MPs earlier this week but maintained that there was no wrongdoing in his dealings with Mr Werritty.


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