Consider the scenario:
At some point in the last century a Labour minister is discovered to have solicited monies from abroad.
- Would the PM have issued an edict, without shilly-shallying for eight days?
- Would that minister have been out within hours?
- Would there have necessarily been full public enquiries?
- Could the episode have brought the Government down?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And .. quite likely so.
Now consider this: the Daily Mail version of the fall of Fox:
… venture capitalist Jon Moulton agreed to fund Mr Werritty’s globetrotting after he bought a defence company that makes components for aircraft including RAF fighter jets and troop transporters.
In a shattering blow to Dr Fox’s credibility, Mr Moulton, who gave Mr Werritty’s company Pargav £35,000, made the explosive claim last night that Dr Fox solicited his cash.
He said: ‘After the election I was asked by Dr Fox to provide funds to a non-profit group called Pargav involved in security policy analysis and research.’
Note the word “solicited”.
And what was in it for this Moulton?
The Mail can reveal that Mr Moulton, a longstanding donor to Dr Fox, paid £60million for defence firm Gardner UK in February 2010. Eight months later he gave money to Mr Werritty …
But his donation occurred during the Government’s Strategic Defence Review which meant £5billion of cuts. The RAF aircraft which used Gardner’s components escaped unscathed.
None of the press accounts of Fox’s end are definitive or comprehensive. The FT follows the same line as the Mail, with a somewhat different spin, but further identifying other donors to Dr Fox’s private Foreign Office:
- Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire;
- Michael Lewis of Oceana Investments;
- a company called G3, chaired by former Reagan-era US diplomat Chester Crocker. G3 used to share a London address with the Sri Lanka Development Trust, a mysterious vehicle set up by Mr Fox that was used to pay for his trips to that country.
- Michael Hintze, the billionaire fund manager …
… other Tory donors complained on Friday that media inquiries were making them uncomfortable.