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Byline: David Williamson

DEFENCE Secretary Liam Fox's extraordinary relationship with best man Adam Werritty has been defended on the grounds the 33-year-old was motivated by patriotism and not profit. The two men have crossed paths overseas on 18 occasions in 18 months and their dealings are now being investigated by the Cabinet Secretary.

Steve Dub in Carmarthen It was reported yesterday that "authoritative sources" claimed Mr Werritty operated as a "one-man intelligence service".

If true, it is not hard to see why Mr Fox might appreciate the trusted advice of a friend, sidekick and trusted advisor who was not part of the civil service machine or on the party payroll.

Mr Fox is the Tory torchbearer for the brand of "special relationship" forged by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and a passionate supporter of Nato. He considers European cooperation on security vital but argues this should be conducted through Nato and not the European Union, of which he is an arch-sceptic.

Mr Fox claims it is "nonsense" for the EU to try and duplicate the work of Nato and argues the UK's relationship with the US will remain the "cornerstone of our security". He fears that a defence strategy linked to the EU would become bogged down in bureaucracy.

It has been reported that Mr Werritty's role was to overcome inertia not in Brussels but Whitehall.

Even after the toppling of the Gaddafi, British politics is in a phase which historian may one day identify as "post-Iraq". The appetite for neoconservative-sponsored adventures in regime change in Syria and Iran is near zero, and even though David Cameron has done his best to befriend Barack Obama it is clear that while the UK and the US may well stand shoulder to shoulder in the future the two countries are not joined at the hip.

In moments when ardent Atlanticism is out of fashion, Mr Fox might feel he is swimming against the tide when discussing Britain's future role as a military power with his Liberal Democrat cabinet colleagues.

When the power of states is debated people normally talk about economic might. But Mr Fox's speeches are littered with references to activity at remote military bases, potential terror weapons and the machinations of government's that do not share the UK's commitment to democratic forces.

It is clear why a man who is convinced that we live in dangerous world and adamant that Britain's destiny is not to be a tentacle of a Euroctopus would want to call on the services of someone who shared his values.

Idealism does not excuse improper relationships and rule-breaking but it may explain why a man focused on defence took exceptional risks.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 13, 2011
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