More time for North Somerset MP
NORTH Somerset’s MP Dr Liam Fox has been given more time to answer questions about his conduct as Defence Secretary after an interim report was handed to the Prime Minister today (Mon).
Last week and over the weekend, Dr Fox faced a series of allegations regarding his working relationship with his close friend, Adam Werrity.
On Friday, he ordered his Permanent Secretary to carry out an investigation into his conduct to ascertain whether he had broken the Ministerial Code or put national security at risk.
A report from the Permanent Secretary was handed to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier today.
However, this was only an interim report. A full report is now expected on October 21, after which Mr Cameron is expected to make a decision on Dr Fox’s future in his Cabinet.
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Dr Fox came under fire after it was revealed he had allowed Mr Werrity regular access to Ministry of Defence buildings, despite the fact he had no security clearance and was not a Government employee.
Revelations also showed Mr Werrity had regularly handed out business cards claiming to be an official advisor to the Tickenham resident, a position he did not hold.
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He had also accompanied Dr Fox on trips to Sri Lanka and Dubai, when sensitive issues were discussed.
In Dubai, Dr Fox met with Mr Werrity and a commercial defence supplier without a Government official being present.
This afternoon, Dr Fox made a statement to MPs in the House of Commons revealing he had met Mr Werrity at the MoD base 22 times and abroad 18 times, the latter of which was mostly on social occasions.
He said: “I accept that it was a mistake to allow distinctions to be blurred between my professional responsibilities and my personal loyalties to a friend and, Mr Speaker, I am sorry for this.
“I have apologised to the prime minister, to the public and at the first opportunity available, to the House.”
He added: “I accept, with the benefit of hindsight I should have taken great care to ensure a more transparent separation of government, party political and private business and that meetings were properly recorded to protect myself and government from any suggestion of wrongdoing.
“Again, I accept my personal responsibility for this.”
Dr Fox also told the house he had stopped Mr Werrity handing out the business cards in June.