The only surprise about Liam Fox’s resignation is that it took so long to occur given that he must have had some idea of how Adam Werritty, his adviser, was being funded. Payments took place from a handful of business groups – including a billionaire who funds a pro-Israel lobbying group.
One of the donors told us today that he had been asked by Fox himself to fund the company, Pargav, which provided flights and hotels for Werritty. Another said he was unhappy to have found out how the money had been spent, given that he was told it would go towards a “security policy analysis research organisation“.
For days Fox and his aides have refused to comment on Werritty, claiming repeatedly that he did work either as an “official or unofficial adviser” to the minister. And yet he had handed out business cards with the words “adviser” on. (Normal special advisers are paid by the state and have to operate under a Whitehall code of conduct.)
Incidentally Fox has still failed to answer questions about his Sri Lanka Development Trust and how it appears to have achieved little other than funding his trips to the island.
If the defence secretary had stayed in place – we still don’t know whether he was pushed – it would have raised serious questions about David Cameron’s own judgment.
After all, how could it be acceptable for a minister to have an informal adviser, with a desk at the offices of a hedge fund, paid for by: an investigations company; a pro-Israel billionaire; a venture capitalist and some unknown others? Clinging to office after this revelation was bizarre and, ultimately, untenable.