Liam Fox: Gone but not forgotten?

Liam Fox The defence secretary insisted his friend Adam Werritty did not work for him officially or unofficially

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We've been told that Liam Fox reached his own conclusion, called the prime minister and said he realised that he couldn't go on.

However what I believe is that the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell had concluded that Mr Fox's position was untenable, that the prime minister was willing to give the defence secretary time until that report came out but was not willing to give him the confidence or the support he would need to fight any critical report and to hold on to his job.

In short he went before he was - in all probability - pushed.

Now exactly whether that was said to him and exactly what happened in the conversation we don't know.

What is clear is that there's a warm letter from him to the prime minister and a warm letter back; I suspect that is as much to do with trying to save their blushes as anything else.

It seems to me clear that David Cameron had said to Mr Fox you've got time to prove you can get out of this and that I will not push you straight away. What he had not said is I'm backing you.

Furthermore what David Cameron needed if Liam Fox was to resign was for people to say it was inevitable.

Since this saga has played out over eight days, that is precisely what he's got.

Return not impossible

There will of course be people who deeply regret Liam Fox going. There will be people on the right of the Conservative party who see him as a cheerleader for Margaret Thatcher's brand of foreign and domestic policies who wish he could have stayed.

But there will be few I suspect who are able to accuse the prime minister of doing him in or be outraged that this has happened.

The wording of those letters clearly allows for the possibility that Liam Fox will return to government.

The prime minister is very careful to refer to Mr Fox and his wife as friends and to say that he wishes to carry on getting their advice.

I suspect the message that has gone between them is - you don't cause trouble now and, who knows, there may be a way back.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Very sad, a decent Politician being forced out. I am sure the apologetic left will be loving this. Anything to take away the Media from their pathetic attempt at controlling our Nations finances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    What a bunch of clique upper class twits we have for 'leaders'.

    Goodness me if there were only a viable alternative that could get through the media blockade keeping them all in power we could chuck the lot of them out of westminster and start building a great nation again.

    OL next please, then DC, if the media challenged him on his appointments he would be gone already.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    this man is a disgrace. there are thousands of people who could do a better job, the guy has no talent but he was a convenient mouth piece for vested interests.

    supporters of mr fox talk about him as if he were some political heavy weight but the truth is his motivation has been financial and not political.

    good riddance. throw him out of parliament and make his 'charity' pay their taxes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    What an amazing coincidence that Fox decides to go when GOD had already concluded that his position was untenable. Of course it is possible for him to return (c.f. Mandelson) but would Cameron be keen to incarcerate him in the prison of collective responsibility sooner or later. And would Fox want to be seen as a Thatcherite rocking the Coalition boat, not that Mrs T would be uncomfortable now.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Fox had to go. It wasn't just the 'error of judgement' he claims; he has been deliberately obfuscating and evading at every turn, and not had the backbone to own up. I'm not sure evidence of financial impropriety will emerge, but have no doubt money has changed hands along the way somewhere. If Werrity was the recipient (why else would he have gone to all that trouble?) then Fox MUST have known.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Will there be a police enquiry into how much the government and ministry of defence have been compromised and who all the people involved in this were, or will that take another press campaign?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Re Comment (1)

    And get the last batch who were completely incompetent, bickering and brown-nosed even more back in? And overspent the MoD budget by billions through sheer stupidity? And ran up one of the proportionally biggest debts the UK has ever had?

    Heaven help us!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    He was gleeful enough to be putting decent people out of work.

    Now they can have a laugh watching HIM go.

    What goes around comes around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Well done BBC hacks (and I SPECIFICALLY mean BBC), you hounded an essentially decent man out of a job.

    Hope you're proud...though of course, you should not be.

    The difference between the BBC and the BS tabloids: the name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Incredible that it took Mr Fox so long to do what seemed to most of us the decent and right thing. He was totally compromised by this inappropriate relationship and the unfettered access he gave to someone who was financed by vested interests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Not really surprising eh?
    Same old stuff, but this time with the implied sweetener of 'if you keep your nose clean' (wonder how it got that grubby brown tinge?) we'll keep your seat warm for you.
    Get this bunch OUT.


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