Private Eye cover - #Tory Party Morris Dancing / The Dodgy Doctor Foxy , Foxy
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" David Cameron’s attempt to deal with the fall-out from the Liam Fox scandal descended into farce as he was surrounded by morris dancers.
The Prime Minister was at an event in his leafy Oxfordshire constituency as he desperately tried to plug the holes in his Government left by the disgraced Defence Secretary’s resignation.
But the Charlbury morris men, who incorporate “wild whooping” into their traditional sticks and bells folk routine, were performing at the same spot.
One Government aide admitted yesterday: “It was the weirdest possible end to a very weird week.”
The PM’s shambolic efforts to shore-up his crumbling administration were also thwarted by poor mobile coverage – which meant his phone cut out every time he offered someone a job.
And his Chancellor and key ally George Osborne only learned Dr Fox had quit on Twitter – as he scoffed chocolate buttons at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris.
But Friday’s bizarre events, as Philip Hammond was appointed Defence Secretary and junior minister Justine Greening replaced him as Transport Secretary, were set against a more sinister-looking backdrop.
Labour says the Dr Fox affair exposed a secret right-wing Tory agenda Mr Cameron is desperate to cover up.
And Mr Hammond, appointed as a “safe pair of hands”, was last night linked to a mega-rich former Goldman Sachs banker who was a key backer of Dr Fox.
Mr Hammond lists Michael Hintze, who donated more than half the budget for Dr Fox’s controversial charity Atlantic Bridge, several times in the MPs’ register of interests as a donor.
And the chaos Dr Fox’s relationship with close friend Adam Werritty has caused at the heart of government was laid bare as the blundering PM’s hopes of sweeping the affair under the carpet were spectacularly dashed.
The Government was forced to deny claims the ex-Defence Secretary and his “adviser” may have been trying to create their own foreign policy.
Lobbyist Mr Werritty, 33, was a regular visitor to Dr Fox, 50, at the Ministry of Defence and joined him on 18 trips overseas despite not having any official role.
And the pair faced an avalanche of new revelations about links to US neo-conservatives, claims of involvement with a plot by the Israeli secret service, Mossad, and the threat of a police inquiry. Mr Werritty, who is said to have used a House of Commons business card declaring to be the Defence Secretary’s adviser, conspired with Mossad to topple Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one report says.
Meanwhile Atlantic Bridge, set up by Dr Fox and run by Mr Werritty, put them in touch with US lobbyists, climate change deniers and defence hawks.
The body, dissolved by its trustees after a damning Charity Commission report last year, formed a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
That lobbying outfit received money from drugs, defence and oil firms and was heavily funded by the Koch Foundation, whose founder Charles G Koch was one of the most generous donors to the anti-government US Tea Party movement.
Mr Koch and his brother David have also given millions of dollars to global warming sceptics, according to Greenpeace.
In another blow, police are poised to investigate whether Mr Werritty is guilty of fraud by posing as Dr Fox’s adviser.
The probe is just one of five inquiries Dr Fox faces into their relationship and the way cash from wealthy backers was used to pay for his friend to travel the world at his side.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell is expected to report tomorrow that Dr Fox shattered the ministerial code of conduct.
The elections watchdog is set to examine if he broke the law by failing to register the money donated to Mr Werritty.
And Parliament’s sleaze-buster could scrutinise Dr Fox’s use of Commons expenses to pay for a flat where his pal lived and ran a business.
Also, Sir Philip Mawer, the PM’s independent adviser on ministerial standards, may be brought in after Labour demanded a larger inquiry.
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said yesterday: “This is a self-inflicted crisis. Liam Fox brought it upon himself. David Cameron didn’t act quickly enough and the investigation is too narrow.”
William Hague denied Dr Fox and Mr Werritty had been allowed to run a rogue foreign policy operation but the Foreign Secretary admitted meeting the lobbyist.
He was n the defensive over his own role, along with Mr Osborne’s, on the Atlantic Bridge advisory council, saying it wasn’t “a sinister organisation”.
He did suggest the scandal would trigger a crackdown on corporate lobbyists who seek to influence government.
But ex-Defence Secretary Lord John Reid said confusion over foreign policy rather than lobbying was the “major concern”.
3MORE bad news for the Government is on its way this week with soaring shop prices expected to push inflation up to a crippling 5%. "