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Under fire UK Defence secretary quits

London: Under fire for allowing an aide to misuse official position, Defence secretary Liam Fox on Friday resigned from the David Cameron government following a spate of revelations and allegations against his former flatmate and best man, Adam Werritty.

Werritty, who posed as an adviser to Fox and accompanied the latter to official meetings and foreign tours, was at the centre of the controversy that dogged Fox at every public engagement in the last week. Weritty did not have any official position.Werritty accompanied Fox on 18 foreign trips. Fox was being investigated by the Cabinet Secretary amid claims that he had broken the ministerial code.

In his resignation letter, Fox said he had "mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred." "The consequences of this have become clearer in recent days. I am very sorry for this. I have also repeatedly said that the national interest must always come before personal interest, Fox said. He said: I now have to hold myself to my own standard. I have therefore decided, with great sadness, to resign from my post as secretary of state for defence. "

Fox tendered an apology earlier this week but insisted that there was no wrongdoing in his dealings with Werritty. New revelations on Friday indicated that financial backers linked to Israel and a private intelligence company helped fund the travels of Werritty. According to The Times, financial backers from Israel and a private intelligence company helped put in 147,000 pounds in a company set up by Werritty. Fox maintained that Werritty did not work for him officially or unofficially.

The Times claimed that a money trail linked Werritty to a private intelligence company with strong interests in Sri Lanka and a property investor who lobbies the UK government on behalf of Israel. The paper also alleges links to a venture capitalist whom it claims is "keen for stronger ties with Washington".

It has also been revealed that Fox and Werritty attended a USD 500 (318 pounds)-a-head dinner in Washington with senior defence industry figures which had not been declared by the Ministry of Defence in its list of Fox`s meetings.

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