10 October 2011

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

In the light of the public debate regarding the involvement of the Defence Secretary, Mr Liam Fox, and his friend, Mr Werrity, in matters which might have touched on the Defence Secretary's governmental duties, Mr Fox made a statement in Parliament where he said: "As I said yesterday, I accept that it was a mistake to allow distinctions to be blurred between my professional responsibilities and my personal loyalties to a friend. And Mr Speaker, I am sorry for this, I have apologised to the Prime Minister, to the Public and, at the first available opportunity, to the House."

Later, and regarding a meeting with a potential commercial supplier, the Defence Secretary said: "I accept that I should not have had a meeting with a potential commercial supplier without an official being present. This was entirely my fault and I take full responsibility for it." and on the same issue he went on, "As I said yesterday, I accept, with the benefit of hindsight that I should have taken great care to ensure a more transparent separation of Government, party political and private business and that meetings were properly recorded to protect myself and Government from any suggestion of wrong-doing."

Its a pity that Somerton Town Council didn't take exactly the same precautions in 2008 with regard to property deals and councillors' involvement in them. Equally, the Town Clerk might have been expected to keep better records to ensure transparency. But 'a previous town council' tended to do things it own way which led directly to investigation into its affairs, an investigation which, it must be noted, is still underway and where the External Auditor has yet to report.

Till next time, I'm still Niall Connolly