Report: Liam Fox violated 'code'

Oct. 19, 2011 at 1:59 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Former British Defense Secretary Liam Fox systematically violated the "ministerial code" in his relationship with a former housemate, a report said Tuesday.

The report by Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary and Britain's senior civil servant, said Ursula Brennan, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defense, did not alert O'Donnell to Fox's conduct, The Guardian reported. She did, apparently, warn Fox that he was crossing the line.

Fox, a medical doctor before he went into politics, shared a London apartment with Adam Werritty for several years. Werritty was best man at Fox's wedding.

When Fox became defense secretary, Werritty accompanied him on overseas trips and handed out business cards describing himself as an adviser to his friend. Werritty appears to have profited from the relationship, although Fox did not.

"Dr. Fox's actions clearly constitute a breach of the ministerial code which Dr. Fox has already acknowledged," O'Donnell said. "This was a failure of judgment on his part for which he has taken the ultimate responsibility in resigning office."

Fox issued a statement pointing out that the report said his actions did not harm national security.

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