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Case Study: Liam Fox MP Access Scandal

In October 2011, Defence Secretary Liam Fox resigned following pressure over his working relationship with friend and self-styled adviser Adam Werritty – a former flatmate of Mr Fox who was best man at his wedding.

Mr Werritty visited Mr Fox in the Ministry of Defence on a number of occasions, was allowed to accompany him on foreign trips where he met diplomats, defence staff and defence contractors, and had handed out business cards suggesting he was Mr Fox’s adviser, despite having no official role in government.

Questions were also raised about who had paid for Mr Werritty’s business activities and whether he had personally benefited from his frequent access to the defence secretary.

When he resigned, the former defence secretary said he had “mistakenly allowed” personal and professional responsibilities to become “blurred” but maintained there had been no impropriety.

An investigation by then Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell found Mr Fox had “clearly” breached the Ministerial Code, but he was cleared of making any financial gain through the relationship or breaching national security.

Subsequently, the government agreed to tighten rules on who should accompany ministers to official meetings.

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