EXCLUSIVE: Former UK Defence Sec says Russia understands consistency and strength and West has shown neither

Former UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has said that the West's response to the crisis in Crimea has been less than adequate, stating that "Russians understand consistency and strength and we have not shown either".

Speaking to a meeting of the Conservative Future group tonight,  Fox noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has "interpreted the signals very well" and that the West showed weakness on Estonia, Georgia and Syria.

"There is a clear pattern of behaviour," Fox said, responding to a question from the crowd.

Fox described Putin as a "KGB officer in charge of a bullying, thuggish regime."

"We need to... take the blindfold from our eyes... We would all like Russia to become a democratic and pluralistic country but that is not where it's going."

The former cabinet member spent his speech discussing the fortunes of the Conservative Party at the next general election. He said, "We're very close to being able to win a General Election outright."

Fox criticised the "modernisation project" within the Tory Party, claiming that "far too much of the modernisation project has been concerned with what people who won't ever vote for us think."

"I don't care what John Humphrys or Polly Toynbee think."

Fox argued that the Conservative Party was winning the debate on the economy, welfare and Europe, pointing out that Labour does not trust the British public with a European referendum.

Asked if he would be interested in the role of Conservative Party Chairman, given the recent misfortunes of incumbent Grant Shapps, Fox answered, "I might. I might not." 


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