Fox hunting may be considered an odd occupation for the politically correct left, but they make an exception for old Liam. Reynard flÃ¢neur. A walker. (I am indebted to Charon QC for introducing me to that one!)
In truth this is an old Fox, one that was wounded many moons ago, the hounds were merely temporarily withdrawn until the Fox thought it was safe to âcome outâ again.
It is easier to find a picture of Liam with his best man Adam Werrity, than it is to find a picture of the old flÃ¢neur alongside his long time spinster-of-this-parish wife, Jesme Baird. The only one I could find this morning came complete with a banner headline underneath pointing out that he lived with Adam Werrity in a Tower Bridge flat up until his marriage. No opportunity has been spared by journalists to point us in a single direction. He is surely one of the few heterosexual Tories who have managed to generate two stories in the Pink News on the subject of his forthcoming nuptials at the ripe old age of 45, nor to have generated a quote from Peter Tatchell, long time gay activist, that he âis prepared to forgive him and move onâ.
The rumours of an unconventional, but perfectly legal, private life, have swirled around Dr Fox for as long as, well, about as long as they swirled around that other happy bachelor, Gordon Brown, until he married Sarah Brown at the ripe old age of 49 and started producing the statutory or statuTory children required of any aspiring political leader.
Though Dr Foxâs past exploits appear to have more in common with William Hague than Gordon Brown, despite his prominently socialist brother, who curiously never, ever, mentions himâ¦..must be the politics eh? There have been bizarre stories of the carousing in Paris with rampant and excited young students, forced to share his bedroom as the night grew older â âhe wasnât in a fit state to go homeâ; the burglaries at his home where it was carefully pointed out that his wife was not resident there at the time. The sly âis this the Tories first lady in waitingâ articles, purporting to be discussing his future wife, but quickly launching into a discussion regarding Dr Foxâs chances of being premier of the Tory party. Crikey, havenât we had enough clues yet folks? We are in âwhat is Adolf Hitlerâs first nameâ territory here.
Why should any of this matter, isnât Labour the party of equality and anti-discrimination? Partly I suspect that is is Dr Foxâs past stance on Homophobia, that has got up some delicately flared nostrils; âWe just do not want poofs in our union. I wish they would just bugger off and give us peaceâ he said, an unfortunate choice of verbs, whilst a member of Glasgow Universityâs student council. It might have appealed to the wider audience in that tough city, but it didnât endear him to the gay activists. They donât forgive and forget in a hurry, not when they suspect that the speaker is one of their own. The fact that he declined to vote on the Civil Partnership Bill awoke old memories.
It is not just Labour which has been gunning for Dr Fox â The Conservative Party has been in on the bun fight. Back in February, Fox was claiming that he had âbeen the victim of a plot by Tory Chiefsâ when his North Somerset branch of the Tory Party was suspended and two of his key constituency officials ousted in the continuing row over his election expenses. Cameron was believed to have been mighty miffed over the leaking of a letter from Dr Fox claiming that forthcoming defence cuts would be a disaster. No friends there then.
In March 2010 Fox had to repay Â£22,476 in mortgage interest payments as part of the MPs expenses row; in June 2009 Fox claimed expenses of more than Â£19,000 over the last four years for his mobile phone. I suppose when you have a complicated home life, the calls from overseas can mount up.
Now the media are in full pursuit â his relationship with long time âclose friendâ Adam Werrity â even âlonger timeâ than his close relationship with his wife â is under intense review. A review ordered by Dr Fox himself; how does that work? Does he sit at his imposing desk and ask himself searching questions? Will he turn his desk light on his face and demand the truth?
With his local party suspended, his close officials fired, and the party henchmen of both sides in hot pursuit â does Liam have no one to support him? There is an unsubstantiated claim that he is a friend of Mother Theresa, but Google turned up no further references.
Sheesh! The man doesnât need enemies with friends like that. No wonder heâs suffering from the paranoiacâs belief that he is the victim of a plot. Must be infectious.