Roy Greenslade Guardian, The London times in full agreement.
Come off it, Liam Fox, don't blame the muck-rakers for doing their job
Liam Fox is to face a fresh investigation into his links with Adam Werritty after the parliamentary standards watchdog accepted a complaint into the conduct of the former defence secretary.
A few hours after Fox used his resignation statement in the commons to attack the media for pursuing him with "vindictiveness, even hatred", the parliamentary standards commissioner announced that he would investigate a complaint lodged by a Labour MP.
John Mann wrote to John Lyon last week asking him to examine allegations that Fox allowed Werritty to live rent-free in his London flat which allowed him to run a business from a property funded by parliamentary allowances.
A spokesman for Lyon said: "The commissioner has received a complaint from John Mann and he has accepted it."
The announcement came shortly after Fox criticised the media as he apologised to MPs for breaching the ministerial code over his friendship with Werritty. In a personal statement to MPs, Fox also hit out at a Dubai-based businessman whose confirmation of a meeting with Fox helped trigger the former defence secretary's downfall.
He said it was wrong of the press to report "unquestioningly" allegations by Harvey Boulter, who met him and Werritty in a Dubai hotel in June, when Boulter is involved in a blackmail case.
"Last week's media frenzy was not unprecedented, and it happens where a necessary free press and politics collide," Fox told MPs. "But I believe there was, from some quarters, a personal vindictiveness, even hatred, that should worry all of us."
The former defence secretary spoke to MPs shortly after Sir George Young, the leader of the Commons, announced that the government was accepting in full the recommendations of a report into him by the cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell.
O'Donnell called for tighter rules on ministerial contacts with outsiders after finding Fox guilty of multiple breaches of the ministerial code for a "blurring of lines" between his official and private responsibilities.
Fox admitted the code had been breached, but was careful not to say directly that he had breached it. In a carefully-constructed sentence, he said: "The ministerial code has been found to be breached. For this I am sorry.
"I accept it is not only the substance but [also] perception that matters. That is why I chose to resign. I accept the consequences for me without bitterness or rancour. I do not blame anyone else, and I believe that you do not turn your back on your friends or family in times of trouble."
Fox then turned on the media for hounding his family and accepting Boulter's claims without question. He said: "It is unacceptable that family and friends who have nothing to do with the central issues should be hounded and intimidated by elements of the media including, in this case, elderly relatives and children."
He added: "It is difficult to operate in the modern environment, as we know, where every bit of information, however irrelevant or immaterial, is sensationalised, and where opinions or even accusations are treated as fact.
"It was particularly concerning that Harvey Boulter, present at the Dubai meeting and subsequently the defendant in a blackmail case, was treated so unquestioningly."
Boulter met Fox and Werritty for 45 minutes in the Horizon Club business lounge, on the 41st storey of Dubai's five-star Shangri-La Hotel, on 17 June.
After the meeting, Boulter emailed a lawyer from 3M, a firm with which he had been involved in a business dispute, to warn of a "rather embarrassing situation" over the recent knighthood for the 3M head, George Buckley.
Boulter said the knighthood was not discussed at the Fox meeting, though he had discussed it with Werritty.
Fox admitted that it was wrong of him to have attended the meeting with Boulter without an official present. He also accepted O'Donnell's criticism that he had failed to heed warnings from Ursula Brennan, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, about his links with Werritty.
He said: "With hindsight, I should have been more willing to listen to concerns of those around me."
His voice came close to breaking as he paid tribute to his wife, Jesme, who listened to him from the front row of the Commons public gallery. "I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support," he said.
"It is not easy to watch someone you care about being attacked in a very aggressive and prolonged way. We choose this life. They do not. Above all, I would like to thank my wife Jesme, who has dealt with this whole business with her usual grace, dignity and unstinting support."
Boulter rejected Fox's criticism. He said: "It is most certainly not fair or correct for Fox to again brand me as a blackmailer. He knows very well that I was trying to settle a legal dispute between 3M and Porton/Ploughshare (part of his former ministry) … How is that possibly blackmail – this is a negotiation.
"The fact Fox is continuing to pursue me I think makes him look more than a little silly.
"If Fox had not issued an incorrect statement in the first place, which the Guardian forced him to correct publicly, then he would not have exposed his adviser to scrutiny."
A series of Tory MPs lined up to congratulate Fox after his statement. Desmond Swayne, the prime minister's parliamentary private secretary, who is a member of the Territorial Army, hugged him.
Earlier, David Cameron accused the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, of jumping on a bandwagon when he questioned his handling of the Fox allegations. "If you are going to jump on a bandwagon, make sure it's still moving," the prime minister said. "The minister in question has resigned. You are just a bit late."
Miliband said: "This week of all weeks, show a bit of humility, eh? … He doesn't ask the tough questions of those around him and, when anything goes wrong, it's nothing to do with him."