Tory minister Liam Fox’s resignation today, Friday, shows the rotten corruption that runs through the coalition government.
The now former defence secretary repeated his mantra that he allowed lines to become “blurred”. But every day has brought new revelations about his self-styled adviser, Adam Werritty.
Yesterday it emerged that £147,000 was paid into the bank account of a firm called Pargav Ltd by a mystery benefactor.
The firm was set up by Werritty—and the money was used to cover the cost of first class jet-setting and stays in posh hotels like the Shangri-La in Dubai.
“Werritty was the main contact for meeting Fox,” one lobbyist told the press. “He was the person who arranged the time of the meeting. He collected me at the gate of Portcullis House and took me up to Fox's office.”
After the phone hacking scandal, the case has again lifted the lid on the murky world of lobbyists and “advisers” circling round Westminster, pushing brutal governments and peddling weapons of mass destruction and cuts.
Atlantic Bridge, Fox’s now wound-up “charity”, counted top Tories George Osborne, William Hague and Michael Gove among its advisory board—and Margaret Thatcher as its patron.
It was run by Werritty from Fox’s parliamentary office—and its main activity was organising flights for US and British right wingers while getting charity tax breaks.
Fox has been forced to go after a week of clinging on.
Senior Tories had rushed to the aid of a politician who is on the right even of this government of axemen.
Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind came to his rescue in parliament on Monday, praising his “robust and effective leadership”. The 1922 Committee, a group of arch right wing Tories, had set up a meeting for Tuesday to back Fox.
Fox was not an outrider—he was at the heart of the Tories’ right wing project.
Prime minister David Cameron gave him his “full support”—until the pressure got too much.
Fox himself reportedly told the papers that Cameron would look “as weak as John Major” if he got rid of him.
Yet now, absurdly, Fox now claims he has had a rethink and decided to quit in the “national interest”.
Liam Fox is the second coalition minister to resign over a scandal. The first was Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, David Laws—and some in the media are already drawing parallels.
But in both cases, this is not about ministers’ private lives—it is about corruption.
Already the spotlight is moving onto another Tory minister, Oliver Letwin, over his strange decision to throw away sensitive documents in a park bin.
This is a weak and nasty government. But it is also a government that has decided to take on the whole working class at once, by slashing jobs, pay and pensions across the board in an austerity onslaught.
Three million are set to strike on 30 November. Together workers can bring down not just one minister, but the whole government.