Liam Fox has resigned as Defence Secretary over his links with his close friend, lobbyist Adam Werritty.
In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Dr Fox said that he had ‘mistakenly’ allowed the distinction between his personal interest and Government activities to become ‘blurred’.
‘I have also repeatedly said that the national interest must always come before personal interest. I now have to hold myself to my own standard,’ he said.
‘I have therefore decided, with great sadness, to resign from my post as Secretary of State for Defence - a position which I have been immensely proud and honoured to have held.’
Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South and a member of the Commons’ defence select committee, said: ‘It’s a big disappointment because he was the right man for the job and he’ll be a hard act to follow.
‘He’s the only person in more than a decade to show some determination to sort out the Ministry of Defence. The thing that upsets me is there will be people in the MoD having a drink on this because they will be glad he’s gone.
‘I think it’s predictable, probably inevitable, but nevertheless I’m disappointed because the one person really attempting to shake complicity out of the MoD and get them to face up to the reality we are in has gone from the job. I thank him for all his effort he put in.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘I’m very sad because he was somebody well suited to his role and did a good job at it and loved it. He was somebody on top of his brief and was working through some really thorny issues within the MoD that he had inherited.
‘It’s really sad that he let his private life cross over with his professional life. He made some terrible errors in judgement and that’s overshadowed everything that he has achieved.’
The Prime Minister has appointed Transport Secretary Philip Hammond as the new defence secretary.