Liam Fox claims to be hate campaign victim

 
Liam Fox Mr Fox's flat was broken in to during the 2010 general election campaign

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Liam Fox has told friends and colleagues that he is the victim of a hate campaign.

During a robust and confident performance in the Commons on Monday the defence secretary attacked what he called "whispering in the weeds".

It is now clear what he was referring to. Hints, nudges and winks about his sexuality have turned into specific accusations made in today's papers.

The Sun claims that the Tory press operation covered up the fact that a young man (not Adam Werritty) was in Mr Fox's flat when it was burgled before the election. The Mail claims that he was using taxpayer-funded flights to arrange short holiday breaks with Mr Werritty.

The key - and legitimate - question now is not about the defence secretary's private life but what Adam Werritty's role was and how he paid or was paid for following Liam Fox around the world.

One of Liam Fox's friends told me Mr Werritty was "a groupie who kept turning up pretending to be something he wasn't".

However, my understanding is that when Werritty handed out business cards claiming to be an adviser to Mr Fox that was pretty close to the truth.

Fox regards himself as an outsider. He was a champion of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the Atlanticist cause long after it had gone out of fashion.

In government, just as he had in opposition, he wanted to talk to someone who thought like he did, who could ask the questions he would, who was on his side.

Sympathetic ear

Werritty is, I'm told, prepared to open his books to the official inquiry into his role.

They will show, I'm told, that he was paid not for lobbying but for "political and strategic advice" by a number of wealthy private clients who share his and Mr Fox's view of the world.

In one way, this explanation may clear things up for Mr Fox. In another, though, they may make things more tricky.

It appears that Mr Fox may have been getting and seeking private advice paid for by political sympathisers without the restraints placed on political advisers who work within the civil service and are paid for by the taxpayer - the political equivalent of the banks' "off balance sheet" activity.

This is what Mr Fox put his hands up to at the weekend.

The defence secretary is in Paris today hoping to celebrate the day Libyans declare that they have been liberated from Gaddafi's forces.

Instead, Fox is wondering what he needs to do next to see off the hounds.

 
Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 253.

    no precisionbombedchild, you aren't, but the moderators here are removing all comments that pertain to that, and related matters,
    this is a spy scandal, not a gay scandal. certain middle eastern countrys may not be mentioned. i wonder what all the other deleted posts said? some newspapers are now covering the fox situation more accurately. journalism is not the profession it was!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 252.

    Am I the only person who cannot get past the fact that Mr. Fox's "charity" Atlantic Bridge, operating from his private offices, was allegedly so lacking in integrity that last year it was ordered to cease its activities by the Charities Commission? Is this not scandal enough to justify enforced removal from ministerial office? Should Mr. Cameron not have taken action last year?

  • Comment number 251.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 250.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 249.

    I'm starting to feel sorry for Fox. They tried to claim that Werrity was deluded and, unlikely as it seems, he does seem to attract such people. There's that bloke who thinks he's tackling the deficit by stifling growth, the woman who thinks a cat can stop deportation and those other blokes who think they're Liberal but are working for the Tories. Poor chap's surrounded by them.

 

Comments 5 of 253

 

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