Pity poor Craig Oliver, the Tories’ new PR man – it’s just sex scandals all the way

The Liam Fox affair drags on, the UK coalition government defence secretary remains the subject of an internal investigation about his relations with close friend and best man at his wedding Adam Werritty.

Werritty has masqueraded as an official adviser to Fox, attending loads of meetings with the defence secretary, some abroad, although he was no such thing (an official adviser). Some of his expenses may have been paid by the Government, aka taxpayers.

So Fox is toast, as UK PM David Cameron and his PR man Craig Oliver (pictured) surely know.

But what precisely was the relationship between Fox and Werritty? At a press conference today there was at least one reporter bellowing at Fox: “Was he your homosexual lover?”

This rather echoes the sticky water foreign secretary William Hague found himself in a few months ago when he had to sack an aide (unoffical aide of course) who had shared a bedroom on trips with Willie, to save money it was said.

Nobody really believed this but Hague is popular and got away with it.

And then, of course, there was David Laws, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, who had to resign within a week of taking office because he’d fiddled his Parliamentary expenses to disguise the presence of his homosexual lover.

Laws wasn’t a Tory of course but, somehow or other, political sex scandals in the UK seem to multiply whenever there’s a Conservative or, in this case, Conservative-dominated government.

It’s not that Fox or Hague may or not be gay, it’s just that as the representatives of so-called conservative family values they get themselves in a right old tangle with their rather more complicated lives and end up telling lies. In Fox’s case some quite serious ones, it is alleged.

And this is not new, although in previous Tory administrations it’s been the heterosexuals in the soup.

Tory PM John Major famously had a long-lasting affair with fellow MP Edwina Currie, only to be outed when the editor of his memoirs excised all references to Currie (he didn’t know about the affair) and Edwina got the hump.

Major’s chancellor Norman Lamont (pictured with former political adviser David Cameron) also got himself into a tangle with a ‘Miss Whiplash’ who rented a flat from him and once had to turn up in Parliament with a black eye incurred in hot pursuit of Olga Polizzi, Lord Forte’s daughter, the celebrated hotel designer.

Prior to that we had toff Lord Lambton and Viscount Jellicoe resigning from Ted Heath’s Tory government after occupying (separately as far as it’s known) the crowded bed of hooker Norma Levy.

And before that the Profumo affair with Christine Keeler and 1950’s Tory PM Harold Macmillan turning a rather bruised blind eye to his wife Dorothy’s long-running affair with bisexual Labour peer (and friend of the Kray Brothers) Lord Boothby.

So this particular political party has form and it’s poor old Craig Oliver’s job to deal with it.

Oliver, a former television news editor, is probably all at sea, wondering what’s going to happen next. Floating in the wings is current chancellor George Osborne’s old friendship with escort agency boss Natalie Rowe, which the tabloid hacks have treated carefully so far but might well not do if Fox is thrown to the dogs.

So it’s all going to go from bad to worse, chiefly because of what will come to be known as ‘Fox’s folly,’ carting a friend around at taxpayers’ expense.

But the Tories, as we said before, have form. And a sense of entitlement that makes them believe they can get away with it.

We could mention here London mayor Boris Johnson but we’d need a book to do justice to the peccadilloes of the blonde Tory bombshell.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.