LIAM FOX resigned as Defence Secretary last night after days of mounting pressure over his links with his close friend and self-styled advisor Adam Werritty.
In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Dr Fox said that he had mistakenly allowed the distinction between his personal interest and government activities to become “blurred”.
Philip Hammond is the new Defence Secretary and Rotherham-born Justine Greening has been given Mr Hammond’s place as Transport Secretary, becoming the fifth woman in the Cabinet.
Dr Fox’s resignation comes after Mr Werritty was yesterday questioned again by officials investigating his links with the former Defence Secretary. Earlier this week Dr Fox told MPs Mr Werrity – his best man and former flatmate – had joined him on 18 overseas trips during his time in the cabinet.
Dr Fox has faced questions over why someone who was not employed by the Government was given such access. There is also uncertainty as to how Mr Werritty was able to fund such extensive foreign travel.
It was claimed yesterday that Mr Werritty’s trips were paid for by a not-for-profit company he set up which received backing from a corporate intelligence company with a close interest in Sri Lanka and a property investor who lobbies for Israel.
In his resignation letter Dr Fox said: “I have repeatedly said that the national interest must always come before personal interest. I now have to hold myself to my own standard.”
Mr Cameron said: “I quite understand why Liam Fox has decided to resign, though obviously I am sorry to see him go.”
The Premier said Dr Fox had done a good job at the Ministry of Defence “clearing up the mess left by the last government” and providing good leadership in the department.
Fresh claims over Werritty: Page 8; Comment: Page 16.