British defence minister breached govt code: report

18th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former British defence secretary Liam Fox's ties with friend and self-styled adviser Adam Werritty breached the ministerial code, a civil service report to be released Tuesday is expected to conclude.

Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, the country's most senior civil servant, accepts in his report that Fox had broken the code while stating that he did not gain financially from the breach, according to the BBC.

The report, due to be handed to Prime Minister David Cameron early Tuesday, concludes that Fox made the right decision in quitting his post last week.

Fox, who played a key role in Britain's military campaigns in Libya and Afghanistan, resigned Friday after it emerged that his best man Werritty posed as a government adviser and took foreign trips with the minister.

Conservative party lawmaker Fox has apologised to parliament and admitted Werritty had accompanied him on 18 foreign trips, and visited him 22 times at the Ministry of Defence in London.

Fox stepped down amid reports that financial backers linked to Israel and a private security firm had funded Werritty's first-class travel and hotel stays during his time with the minister.

Tuesday's report will not cover the allegations that Fox misled donors as to why they were to fund Werritty.

The report will also avoid suggesting revisions to the code, which binds ministers to "avoid a conflict of interest or the perception of any conflict between their public duties and private interests."

The affair has damaged the Tory party according to a poll commissioned by Tuesday's Times newspaper, which shows that the opposition Labour Party now commands the largest lead since last year's general election.

Labour's share of the vote has risen by three percent since September to 41 points, giving it an eight point lead over the Conservatives, the Populous poll found.

© 2011 AFP

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