Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cameron's Flip Flop On Fox

Saturday morning: In another astonishing failure of judgement by David Cameron, the PM has declared he has "full confidence" in the embattled defence secretary, Liam Fox, and the Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary's review must be allowed time to report, after new revelations about his close friend and self-styled "advisor" Adam Werritty.

The Guardian has established that Werritty used Fox's room 341 in the MPs' block at Portcullis House as the official headquarters of a rightwing charity, the Atlantic Bridge, which works in conjunction with a major US business lobby group - recently closed down following criticism from the Charity Commission. The office was provided at taxpayers' expense. Werritty has made 14 visits to the Ministry of Defence over 16 months despite not being employed by the government.

Fresh questions will be asked following claims in the Daily Telegraph that Werritty stayed "rent free" in the defence secretary's tax-payer funded London flat. He is also said to have used that address when setting up a defence consultancy firm.

Fox pulled out of scheduled interviews with the BBC today and refused to answer questions.

Odds are mounting that he will be the second minister to leave the Cabinet, following the disgraced David Laws.

Same old Tories.

UPDATE Saturday afternoon: Obvious confusion and panic in Downing Street (just as there was with the "Pay off your credit cards" speech) as Cameron has now asked the Cabinet Secretary to examine the initial findings of the MoD Permanent Secretary's review, and report his conclusions to him on Monday.

Many MPs are now demanding Fox makes an emergency statement to the House of Commons on Monday about the access to government Mr Werritty has enjoyed. Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy has warned that if Dr Fox refuses he will attempt to use parliamentary procedures to force him to address MPs over a series of allegations. It will be at the discretion of the Commons Speaker to decide if that is granted, though it is unlikely that he would reject a submission concerning such a high profile case.

Mr Murphy said "This is a self-inflicted political crisis and it seems to run and run with fresh allegations every day. There should be a full statement by the Secretary of State on Monday in the House of Commons. If he doesn't volunteer to make a full statement I will seek to summon him. An inquiry is important but so too are direct answers. There are accusations mounting. It is time for the avoidance to stop and for the answers to start."

Same old Cameron: flip flopping judgement.

No comments: