Chris Grayling Defends Liam Fox From 'Mass Pursuit' Despite New Allegations
Conservative employment minister Chris Graying has defended Defence Secretary Liam Fox, saying that there had been an unfair "mass pursuit" for his resignation.
Graying, who managed Fox's failed Conservative leadership campaign in 2005, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that his colleague had been clear in admitting his mistake.
"I think this is certainly something where there is something of a ‘mass pursuit’ of Liam at the moment," he said.
Fox has apologised to Parliament for allowing lines between his personal and ministerial life to become "blurred" with regard to his relationship with his former flatmate Adam Werritty.
It has emerged that Werrity styled himself on business cards as Fox's "adviser" and attended high-level meetings, even though he held no such official position. Fox has insisted there was no financial benefit from the relationship.
More allegations hit the defence secretary on Wednesday, including the accusation that he misled journalists in claiming he was alone during a break-in at his flat, when in fact a friend was staying in his guest room.
Graying's comments echo the strong support Fox has so far received from colleagues, especially on the Tory right.
"I think he has been very clearing in standing up and saying, ‘look, I made mistake, I did things wrong’. Downing Street has accepted the same, that he made some mistakes and made some errors of judgement," Grayling said.
"The question is, is that enough to counter-balance the fact he is doing a really good job in Defence? My own view is that, if a minister makes a mistake and puts his hands up and says he got it wrong, we should respect that.
"I have not seen anything emerge in any of this that gives me rise to believe that Liam has done anything substantially wrong that would call his position into question."
He went on: "I thought we had got past the point in politics though where we needed to worry about people's private lives. The question is somebody doing an important and capable job."