Fox denies being 'frozen out' of Whitehall Libya discussions

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Indy Politics

Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, hit back yesterday at reports that he had been "frozen out" of talks in Whitehall over the military onslaught against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

He also strongly denied accusations of tension in his working relationship with General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff.

He broke off from negotiations in Brussels over the full transfer of command to Nato for the military action in Libya to dismiss the claims. The minister rejected charges he was playing only a peripheral role in planning the action as "tittle-tattle", insisting he was working very closely with David Cameron.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "Some of us are more concerned at actually what's happening in Libya, what's happening in Afghanistan, the problems in the Yemen, how we look after our armed forces more than media tittle-tattle.

"If what I read in the papers is true this morning, I must've been imagining all these meetings I've been at in the last three weeks and the phone calls late at night, including from the Prime Minister."

Dr Fox also ruled out supplying arms to the opposition forces as it would fall foul of the UN arms embargo on Libya. "We are not arming the rebels, we are not planning to arm the rebels," he said.

A source close to Dr Fox said that he was at all top-level meetings on Libya, that Mr Cameron regularly called him for advice and that he met General Richards four or five times a day.