UK defence secretary apologises for ties to businessman

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox apologised yesterday for giving “the impression of wrongdoing” by having frequent private meetings with a personal friend in the defence business, but said he would not quit.

Newspaper reports have said Adam Werritty, a former flatmate of Fox and best man at his wedding, had passed himself off as an adviser to the defence secretary despite holding no official post.

In a statement, Fox denied helping Werritty’s commercial work, giving him access to classified information or personally profiting from the relationship, but said he accepted that he had mishandled his dealings with him.

“I do accept that given Mr Werritty’s defence related business interests, my frequent contacts with him may have given the impression of wrongdoing, and may also have given third parties the misleading impression that Mr Werritty was an official adviser rather than simply a friend,” Fox said.

Fox’s fate still hangs in the balance as the initial findings of an inquiry into whether national security had been breached will land on the desk of Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday. Cameron stepped into the media row on Saturday after the story showed no signs of abating.

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