The last Conservative government was kicked out of office because ministers started to behave as if the country was their personal fiefdom. The Liam Fox affair is the latest example of someone in a position of trust behaving as if the ministerial code of conduct was in place for everyone else but them.
Something rotten was going on in the world of Dr Liam Fox, during his term at the Ministry of Defence. While soldiers were dying in Afghanistan and cost-cutting a major part of the defence review, the Defence Secretary was being accompanied by his close friend on flights around the world, the cost being paid by wealthy donors for reasons yet to be established.
Unless it is for charity, people don't normally just hand over money without the desire for something in return. Although there is no suggestion Dr Fox behaved in a manner that could be considered criminal, one wonders to what extent did Adam Werritty have influence over him in matters of defence?
Dr Fox lied when first asked about Adam Werritty. He said he never travelled with him on foreign trips when, in fact, he did so on at least twenty-two occasions. Mr Werritty wasn't just keeping his friend company, but actually sitting in on meetings where defence issues were discussed and presumably decisions made on behalf of the country. Now why would that be?
What did senior civil servants and military top brass think of the arrangement between the pair? Surely they must have thought it somewhat odd, especially as Mr Werritty never did have any official standing within the Ministry? Did it never dawn on someone to raise it as a security issue?
The Cabinet Secretary is to publish a report on the affair tomorrow and it will be interesting to see if any further revelations will emerge to scupper plans for Dr Fox to return to frontline politics in the future. A police investigation may still prove embarrassing for him and Adam Werritty, but whatever the outcome, for a man in his position, Liam Fox behaved like a pillock.