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  1. Politics
2 August 2010

There will be relief at Dannatt’s departure

The general’s resignation as a Tory adviser will relieve Liam Fox and co.

By George Eaton

General Sir Richard Dannatt’s appointment as a Tory defence adviser was handled terribly by David Cameron, so it’s no surprise to see him leave his post after just nine months.

Liam Fox, who was enraged after Dannatt claimed he was brought in because the Tory defence team “lacked expert understanding”, is one of many who will not be sad to see the back of him.

The military establishment, which felt that Dannatt’s appointment compromised the political impartiality of the armed forces, will also be relieved that he is departing. Cameron’s plan to give Dannatt a ministerial post was foiled after General Sir David Richards, who will become Chief of the Defence Staff in October, threatened to have Dannatt prosecuted under the Army Act for accepting a political job while still a serving officer.

He may smile wryly at Dannatt’s belated recognition that “proper military advice should come from the Chief of Staff and not from a has-been like me”.

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Chris Grayling, who, like most of the then shadow cabinet, was not consulted on Dannatt’s appointment, memorably attacked it as a “political gimmick”, after mistakenly assuming the appointment was Gordon Brown’s and not David Cameron’s. Given that Dannatt never had any intention of offering Cameron “proper military advice”, it appears that’s exactly what it was.

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