Former defence secretary Liam Fox rounded on the media yesterday as he apologised to the House of Commons for allowing the ‘distinctions to be blurred between my professional responsibilities and my personal loyalty to a friend”.
In a limited admission of the many dubious aspects of his friendship with Adam Werrity which have been exposed by journalists over recent weeks, he said: ‘The ministerial code had been found to be breached and for this I am sorry. I accept that it is not only the substance but perception that matters and that is why I chose to resign. I accept the consequences for me without bitterness or rancour.”
However he added that it was ‘unacceptable, that family and friends who have nothing to do with the central issues should be hounded and intimidated by elements of the media, including in this case elderly relatives and children”.
He said: ‘It is difficult to operate in the modern environment, as we know, where every bit of information, however irrelevant or immaterial, is sensationalised and where opinions, or even accusations, are treated as fact. It was particularly concerning that Harvey Boulton, present at the Dubai meeting and subsequently the defendant in a blackmail case, was treated so unquestionably.
‘Last week’s media frenzy was not unprecedented, and it happens where a necessary free press and politics collide. But I believe there was, from some quarters, a personal vindictiveness – even hatred – that should worry all of us.”