Tuesday 23 January 2018

Fox forced to quit amid new revelations on bankrolling

Defence Minister asked City tycoon to finance his adviser's company

Liam Fox
with his
best man
and adviser
British Defence Minister Liam Fox with his best man and adviser Adam Werritty (right).

Robert Winnett

UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox resigned yesterday as it emerged that he had personally asked a City financier to bankroll his unofficial adviser.

Dr Fox became the first Tory cabinet minister in David Cameron's government to stand down, following more than a week of revelations about his relationship with his best man, Adam Werritty.

He announced he was standing down after detailed disclosures showed Mr Werritty's activities were funded by companies and individuals who stood to benefit from government decisions.

Afterwards, Jon Moulton, a City tycoon who provided money for Mr Werritty, revealed he had personally been asked by the Defence Secretary to give cash to his friend's firm.

It is understood that a cabinet investigation into Dr Fox's dealings with Mr Werritty had concluded that his position was untenable.

In his letter to the prime minister, Dr Fox repeated his belief that he had "mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred".

He will be replaced by Phillip Hammond, who moves from the Transport Department. Justine Greening, the Treasury Minister, would replace Mr Hammond, Downing Street said last night.

Dr Fox is the second senior member of the government to resign since the election

His resignation followed the disclosure that Mr Werritty's company, Pargav, was funded by a private intelligence company and the chairman of an Israeli lobbying company.

Mr Werritty was interviewed yesterday by cabinet office officials and is understood to have admitted that several other individuals and companies had provided money. One of the other funders was said to be a division of a major international bank.

'The Daily Telegraph' also disclosed yesterday that Dr Fox and Mr Werritty had attended a dinner with defence lobbyists and senior US military figures which was not revealed by the Ministry of Defence.

A week after the Washington dinner rules allowing the sale of American defence equipment to Britain were relaxed.

Yesterday afternoon, Dr Fox and Downing Street were confronted with an array of new claims that were set to be published in the weekend newspapers

Irish Independent

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