Liam Fox did not deserve to hold down one of the great offices of state – and he is right to have resigned.
This opinion is not based on what may or may not have happened during the Defence Secretary’s odd working relationship with his friend, Adam Werritty.
We have still not heard the half of it, and more damning facts were due to be drip-fed to the media in the days ahead if matters were not brought to a swift conclusion.
No, Fox deserved to go because he has proved himself either far too stupid, arrogant or naive (I’m not sure which) to remain on the government front bench.
MPs in general – and ministers in particular – have never been under more intense scrutiny. The expenses scandal merely confirmed what most voters had long suspected – that Westminster is not exactly crammed with the selfless and the altruistic.
It has more than its fair share of spivs and chancers, and as a result of heightened public suspicion the media are ready to pounce on any hint of scandal.
The need for openness and propriety in all things has never been more important.
Yet in this highly-charged atmosphere, Liam Fox thought he could get away with including his unauthorised, unaccredited ‘best man’ in sensitive discussions with everyone from a top American general to a British ambassador.
That is why he stands accused of being either stupid, arrogant or naive – you decide.
One must also query Werritty’s credentials as a ‘friend’ – a relationship he has clearly chosen to exploit. As a self-styled ‘business consultant’ he may not have received any obvious financial benefit from his participation at these meetings, but they will not have done his future prospects any harm.
The only person to emerge from this peculiar and slightly tacky affair with any credit is shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy. He did not go snarling, Balls-like, on to the offensive, choosing instead to adopt a more measured tone. He has since been a dangerous combination of the forensic and the disdainful.
He’s certainly one to watch for the future.