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15 July 2012

Fox bites man: ex-Defence Secretary attacks Cameron’s leadership

By New Statesman

Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary who was forced to resign in 2011 over his links to Adam Werrity, has attacked David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative Party in an interview with today’s Sunday Telegraph.

Dr Fox told the newspaper’s political editor Patrick Hennessy that many Tories “deeply resent” the fact that they did not win the 2010 election outright and that this year’s chaotic Budget was a “double mistake” because it focused on the “micro issues” rather than tackling the deficit.

The intervention comes at a difficult time for Cameron, who has just faced down a rebellion from 91 of his MPs over Lords reform.

On Europe, Fox said:

Our aiming point should be as loose a union as we can possibly get.

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On pressure exerted by Cameron’s coalition partners, the Lib Dems:

It’s not sensible for people to make threats and I think it’s time for cool heads … What I think they have to remember is that they are a sixth of the Coalition, not half the Coalition … We are in the Coalition for reasons of electoral arithmetic and we maintain the Coalition for reasons of economic necessity not because we are ideological bedfellows.

On Cameron’s leadership:

I think we need to have a very clear idea of what we want and what is possible, and I think that when we decide what we want, then all the levers of government need to be used to make it happen.

This is the second intervention in as many months by Dr Fox, who recently gave a speech in which he said that the government should not be afraid to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum. However, he denied that he is a “leader in exile” of the group of younger, right-wing Tories who entered parliament in 2010.

Dr Fox told the Telegraph that he “loved” the job of Defence Secretary. And when asked if he still saw his friend Adam Werrity, he said:

Of course. I’m not the sort of person that abandons their friends because people think I shouldn’t. In fact, I think it’s a very important test of loyalty.