Leading article: No just cause to deny Dr Fox his golden goodbye

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Amid the hullabaloo over Liam Fox's resignation, it is far too easy to fulminate against the disgraced Defence Secretary walking away with a £17,000 pay-off.

The case can assuredly be made that Mr Fox was negligent; that, had he not resigned, he would have been sacked; that, as a result, he deserves no severance deal. But it is an argument that smacks too much of retribution. The rules state that ministers who are either sacked or resign under a cloud are eligible for three months' pay. As such, the former Defence Secretary is entitled to his money.

In the light of his comprehensively unprofessional behaviour, swipes from Mr Fox at the "vindictiveness" of the media are wholly unconvincing. But the clamour for further punishment for a man who has already lost his career looks like vengefulness indeed. Mr Fox's £17,000 should be left alone.