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Hammond hails Fox on arrival at MoD

New Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has arrived at the Ministry of Defence for his first day in his new post - and immediately praised the record of his predecessor Liam Fox.

Dr Fox resigned on Friday as fresh allegations emerged about his involvement in securing funding for self-styled "adviser" and lobbyist Adam Werritty.

His departure forced Prime Minister David Cameron into making a Cabinet reshuffle, and he selected Mr Hammond to replace Dr Fox at the MoD, while Justine Greening enters the Cabinet to take his place as Transport Secretary.

Speaking as he took up his new role, Mr Hammond said Dr Fox had "done a great job" as Defence Secretary.

He added that he himself has "always been a huge admirer of the Armed Forces" and added: "I look forward to working with them. I will do everything in my power to justify the trust the Prime Minister has put in me by offering this position."

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Fox accepted that he had allowed the distinction between his personal interests and Government activities to become "blurred".

For his part, Mr Cameron paid tribute to the "superb job" which Dr Fox had done. "I understand your reasons for deciding to resign as Defence Secretary, although I am very sorry to see you go," he said.

Dr Fox's decision to step down came amid reports that Mr Werritty's jet-set lifestyle following him around the world was funded by a company bankrolled by wealthy Tory backers. The prominent venture capitalist Jon Moulton claimed he had been approached by the Defence Secretary following last year's general election to provide funds for Pargav, a not-for-profit company set up by Mr Werritty.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell is still expected to complete his probe into Dr Fox's links with Mr Werritty - who appeared to be effectively acting as an aide even though he had no official role at the MoD or with the Tory Party.

Earlier this week, an interim report by MoD Permanent Secretary Ursula Brennan disclosed that Mr Werritty had met Dr Fox 22 times at the department and met him on 18 overseas trips since he came to office last year.

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