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Fox resigns, but the questions remain

Following days of revelations, the British defence secretary Liam Fox resigned on Friday.

In a letter to prime minister David Cameron, Fox wrote,

"I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred."

After his defiant stance less than 24 hours before, Fox's resignation came as it was revealed that Werritty's trips were funded by a not-for-profit making company. The company, funded by right wing backers with firm links in the defence and arms industry invested upto £147,000 into the company and in effect Werritty, who subsequently sat in on high profile meetings with the British defence secretary.

According to reports, one of the financial backers was a private intelligence company with interests in Sri Lanka.

Whitehall officials are reported to have concluded on Thursday that given these latest revelations, which represent a clear conflict of interest, Fox' position had become untenable.

According to reports in the Financial Times, one conservative MP was appalled by Fox's parallel unofficial meetings with the Rajapakse regime in view of what is now believed to have been defence interests.

The minister who remains anonymous, is reported to have stated,

“I am honestly appalled that a secretary of state of defence can set up a parallel organisation that has off-the-radar meetings with ambassadors and defence interests.”

The shadow defence minister also criticised Fox's actions.

"You can't have a situation where a government minister is appearing to run a completely separate foreign policy from that of the government."

Condemnation of Fox's parallel foreign policy was echoed by Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group.

"For Britain's Defence Secretary to have repeatedly visited Sri Lanka, at the regime's expense, and in the company of Werritty, a known lobbyist, sends completely the wrong signal about the need to investigate atrocities which took place there."

"Liam Fox appears to have weakened the British government's ability to send a clear an principled message on the importance of holding alleged war criminals to account"

See 'UK weapons and Sri Lanka's war crimes against Tamils' (June 2011)

See also our recent posts:

Werritty Oddity (Oct 13)

FT on what Liam Fox's Sri Lanka Development Trust has achieved... (Oct 13)

The Times slams Liam Fox’s 'rotten' ties to Sri Lanka (Oct 12)

Mystery trust funded Fox's visits to Sri Lanka (Oct 12)

Sri Lanka asked Werrity to lobby British Government on arms deals – Channel 4 (Oct 11)

The Times says ... (Oct 10)

Fox sent UK navy officers to Rajapaksa’s inauguration – The Times (Oct 10)

Werritty fronted for Liam Fox's Sri Lanka dealings - The Daily Telegraph (Oct 10)

Fox's eleventh hour admission - 'mistakes were made' (Oct 9)

Rajapaksa video adds to Fox - Werritty questions (Oct 9)

Fox's 'influence with the Sinhalese elite' – The Guardian (Oct 8)

Liam Fox had been warned by MoD (Oct 7)

Veritable questions (Oct 6)