Fox broke ministerial rules, but enjoyed no financial gain


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The Independent Online

An official report into former defence secretary Liam Fox's links with his self-styled adviser Adam Werritty is expected to find that he breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

The official inquiry into the role played by Adam Werritty will be published today. Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, will conclude that the former Defence Secretary did breach the ministerial code.

However, he will also say that there is no evidence that Mr Fox benefited financially from these contacts.

Mr Fox resigned on Friday amid signs that he would be forced to quit when Sir Gus delivered his verdict.

The Cabinet Secretary, who presented his report to the Prime Minister last night, is thought likely to criticise Mr Fox for soliciting funds for Mr Werritty's globetrotting from businessmen whose companies could be affected by the minister's decisions.

Ministers are portraying Mr Werritty as a "one-off" and playing down the need for new controls. The Government is also to delay moves to clean up the lobbying industry until 2013; plans to set up a register of lobbyists, to be published next month, will not now become law until 2013.

Last November, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, promised legislation in the current parliamentary session. But it has been delayed until the 2012-13 session by a rearguard action by some lobbying firms and a range of other political reforms.

A Labour spokesman said: "The Werritty scandal has shown theneed for transparency is urgent.Ed Miliband is ready to put on record all meetings with lobbyists. David Cameron must act immediately."

But Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat president, said: "Ed Miliband's sudden interest in getting to grips with lobbying is mere opportunism, not least as he and his Shadow Cabinet voted against Liberal Democrat proposals for greater transparency on this very issue when they were in government."