Dr Fox to repay �3,000 in expenses
LIAM Fox MP has apologised after he was ordered to repay �3,000 of taxpayers’ money he received at a time when he allowed his friend Adam Werrity to live rent-free.
An inquiry into Dr Fox’s behaviour criticised him for allowing Mr Werrity to stay at his second home and for letting him run a business from his parliamentary offices for more than six years.
John Lyon, Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, said it was a ‘serious matter’.
The North Somerset MP resigned as Defence Secretary in October after video footage showed he had taken Mr Werrity on foreign trips where national security was being discussed, without authorisation.
Following his resignation an inquiry was set up to look into their business relationship.
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A report by the Committee on Standards and Privileges has revealed Mr Werrity stayed rent-free, while Dr Fox claimed maximum allowances for his second home.
Mr Werrity was initially allowed to stay at Dr Fox’s London flat in October 2002 on the premise he would move out once he found a job. He stayed for almost a year.
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The report accepted Dr Fox’s claim that Mr Werrity’s stay did not increase the taxpayers’ costs substantially.
Dr Fox said: “I naturally regret that I did not take more care when allowing someone to stay in my flat. I regret that the rules were breached.”
But Mr Lyon condemned the MP’s decision to let Mr Werrity use parliamentary offices for six years to run his The Atlantic Bridge firm.
He said: “I consider that Dr Fox’s use of his parliamentary office for The Atlantic Bridge was serious. It continued for some six years.
“It is a matter of some concern that a member should think it acceptable to use parliamentary resources for non-parliamentary purposes.”
He said the �3,000 order would have been higher had Dr Fox not raised the issue twice to authorities at the House of Commons and failed to get a reply.