Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

PM 'weak' over Fox, claims Miliband

David Cameron has shown himself to be a "weak Prime Minister" in his handling of allegations against Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.

Mr Miliband blasted "delay and indecision" over how to deal with claims of inappropriate links between Dr Fox and his close friend, defence lobbyist Adam Werritty, and said the Prime Minister should have called in his independent adviser on ministerial conduct, Sir Philip Mawer.

But Mr Cameron said it would have been weak for him to jump to conclusions before knowing all the facts.

His comments came as the BBC broadcast fresh allegations that wealthy backers of Dr Fox funded Mr Werritty's work and travel as he joined the Defence Secretary at meetings and conferences around the world over the past 18 months.

Questions have been asked over how Mr Werritty, who was Dr Fox's flatmate and best man at his wedding, could have afforded his globe-trotting lifestyle and why he was present at meetings despite having no official position at the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking in Aberdeen, the Prime Minister said: "A strong leader actually recognises you have to take time to get all the information, answer all the questions, and then actually make a decision."

Mr Cameron said it was right to wait for Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell to complete his inquiry into the allegations, which is expected early next week after Mr Werritty has been interviewed for a second time.

Dr Fox insisted he was "back to complete normal working mode", rejecting Labour claims that the furore over his friend was distracting him from his job.

"I'm continuing to do what is needed at the moment, which is that the Defence Secretary focuses on defence issues," he told reporters.

But Mr Miliband said: "This uncertainty is not good for the country. We've got a distracted Defence Secretary and a distracted Government."


From Belfast Telegraph