Defence Secretary, Fox, talks to troops during a visit to Lashkar Gah in Afghanistan
Liam Fox had his meeting with Werritty and Boulter in Dubai on his way back from Afghanistan. But was he in breech of the ministerial code in doing so? REUTERS

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox faces an anxious wait over the coming week pending the outcome of the interim report on him, which has now been taken over by officials at Number 10.

In a statement accompanying the report, the prime minister's office said: "It is clear, as Liam Fox himself said, that serious mistakes were made in allowing the distinction between professional responsibilities and personal loyalties to be blurred - and this has clearly raised concerns about impropriety and potential conflicts of interest."

Questions still not answered

Fox repeatedly apologised to MPs Monday for the "blur" that had been created between his public and private lives, but many questions remained unanswered at the close of play Monday night.

Although Fox stated that Adam Werritty had not financially benefitted from their friendship since 1998, when he severed as a paid intern in the House of Commons, the defence secretary used an ambiguous term of phase stating he was "confident that Werritty was not dependent on any transactional behaviour." It is also unclear why Werritty travelled to Dubai twice if he wasn't receiving payment for his efforts to set up the meetings.

Breaking the ministerial code

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy charged that Fox, in his meetings and relationship with Werritty, had broken five points of the ministerial code:

7.1 Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.

5.2 Ministers have a duty to give fair consideration and due weight to informed and impartial advice from civil servants, as well as to other considerations and advice in reaching policy decisions, and should have regard to the Principles of Scientific Advice to Government.

7.3 On appointment to each new office, Ministers must provide their Permanent Secretary with a full list in writing of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. The list should also cover interests of the Minister's spouse or partner and close family which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.

7.4 Where appropriate, the Minister will meet the Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers' interests to agree action on the handling of interests. Ministers must record in writing what action has been taken, and provide the Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers' interests with a copy of that record.

7.5 The personal information which Ministers disclose to those who advise them is treated in confidence. However, a statement covering relevant Ministers' interests will be published twice yearly.