Taxpayers paid £60k for Liam Fox's failed bid for WTO job: Reports

Dr Liam Fox will address the struggle to access Covid-19 tests with Matt Hancock.Photo: Nick Ansell/

Reports have emerged that taxpayers paid £62,500 to help Liam Fox become head of the World Trade Organisation. - Credit: PA

Taxpayers were made to foot a £62,500 bill for 'PR and media support' to help Liam Fox get a job, according to reports.

The North Somerset MP had attempted to land a role as head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) back in July 2020.

It is believed that the public was forced to shell out on behalf of Dr Fox because Government ministers had squabbled amongst each other, almost missing the deadline.

Liam Fox arriving at 10 Downing Street for a cabinet meeting on Monday. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA W

Some believe Liam Fox faced an immense challenge in landing the job from the start. - Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss did not want to use department resources to back Fox's campaign, which was eventually bettered by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who took up her post in March 2021.

Doubts have been cast over whether North Somerset's MP would have stood a chance to be elected in the international role due to his association with Brexit.

Economic expert, Peter Holmes, said in an interview: "The WTO operates by consensus, and neither the EU nor China, with vetoes, could have tolerated the appointment of a pro-Brexit candidate or someone it perceived as more Trump-amenable, respectively.

"A decision on who to back for director-general would not [have been] liable to be influenced by PR campaigning."

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Other costs incurred from the job hunt include £17,500 for travel and subsistence expenses for civil servants, £8,400 on translating materials and a £600 photography bill. 

The trade department has denied the claims, staying the Foreign Secretary had allocated departmental resources and advocated for Fox’s candidacy.

It also disclosed, through a Freedom of Information request, that a contract related to the spending had already been published, with this notice listing the aforementioned services as “campaign solutions”, with no mention of Mr Fox.

Mr Fox has been approached for comment but is yet to respond.