Beleagured Defence Secretary Liam Fox was in trouble even before the current scandal. Fox was a promoter of increased arms sales to get Britain out of its current troubles. But demand for arms is down in current economic circumstances, and the Arab Spring has made it difficult to license exports to the region’s remaining dictators.
Britain’s Conservative government arms trade promoters were caught trying to flog arms to several of the Middle East’s dictators, just as the democratic movement exploded in several countries. Since then the government has been scrambling to minimise the impact of previous arms sales in the repression of democratic protesters, and the potential impact of sales that stalled at the last moment.