Why Liam Fox had to go

By DAVID WOODING

LIAM Fox finally quit the Cabinet today after the secret money trail which funded his Best Man’s globe-trotting was exposed.

The Defence Secretary was forced to go as wealthy backers claimed he asked Tory donors to help pay for Adam Werrity’s travels.

Dr Fox (pictured left) had clung on to his job after more than a week of damaging revelations of how his 34-year-old ex-flatmate posed as an unofficial adviser and accompanied him 18 foreign trips in 16 months.

But he was left with no choice but to resign tonight after it emerged he had solicited money to foot the £157,000 bill for Mr Werrity to fly the world with him.

Venture capitalist Jon Moulton, who gave up to £35,000 towards the trips, is said to have claimed that Dr Fox asked for the cash.

All week, political commentators have warned it was the money which could be the minister’s downfall – and so it proved.

The cash revelations left him open to accusations of a conflict of interest and he threw in the towel.

In his resignation letter, Dr Fox said it was in the “national interest” that he should go because he had allowed personal interests and government activities to become “blurred”.

Mr Werrity, who did not work for the government and had not been security vetted, had linked up with his close pal on trips across the world, including to Sri Lanka and Washington.

Dr Fox is the first Tory to quit the coalition Cabinet – the only other casualty was Lib Dem David Laws who resigned last year over revelations he claimed £40,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay rent to his boyfriend.

David Cameron swiftly replaced Dr Fox at the MoD with Philip Hammond, who is seen as a safe pair of hands ripe for a higher profile job.

The PM also took the opportunity to promote two young women.

Justine Greening replaces Mr Hammond at the Department of Transport, swelling the female ranks of the Cabinet.

Chloe Smith, 29, takes Ms Greening’s job as Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

Shadow defence secetary Jim Murphy said the resignation was “unavoidable and inevitable”.

Follow me on Twitter: @davidwooding

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