Fox resigns: Defence Sec jumps before he’s pushed
There could be a way back if he stays loyal to Cameron and keeps his distance from the anti-Lib Dem mob
LIAM FOX jumped before he was pushed. He clearly feared an onslaught from the weekend papers and decided to get out now.
Although he and David Cameron were no bosom chums, and Fox had his enemies in the Conservative party, this is a huge blow to Cameron's coalition - the first resignation of a senior Tory from the Cabinet.
The danger for the Prime Minister is that Fox will now become a focal point for the anti-Lib Dem majority on the Tory backbenches - Cameron's worst nightmare. In order to prevent this happening, the PM clearly implied in his letter to Fox that if he remains loyal there might be a way back.
There is one immediate problem. The coalition is currently running two wars - in Afghanistan and Libya - and urgently needs a Defence Secretary. Early favourites include Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell.
The pressure on the Defence Secretary has been building all week. The Times story this morning about the huge sums of money being funnelled to Fox's friend Adam Werritty appears to have been the last straw. As the Mole wrote earlier today, the money enabled Fox and Werritty to fight ideological battles and circumnavigate the system.
Responding to Liam Fox's resignation letter, Cameron is said to have told him he could wait until Monday and the result of Sir Gus O'Donnell's inquiry. The Defence Secretary chose to fall on his sword today. ·
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