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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 09:14 GMT
Profile: Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox
Dr Fox is known as a convincing performer
Former shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox's move to be joint party chairman puts a Howard ally in a key post.

Dr Fox led Michael Howard's campaign for the Tory leadership and his first job in government was as Parliamentary Private Secretary.

The former GP will be the public face of the party machine, driving media, policy and campaigning issues.

Known as a convincing debater, the 42-year-old is a Eurosceptic, and could be a future leadership candidate.

Acting as health spokesman for both William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, the Scot has been seen as one of the Tories' most convincing performers, with the added bonus of a medical past.

He masterminded the health "passports" policy, which would see patients given the right to choose which hospital they wanted to be treated at, as well as getting money back if they chose to go private.

The policy followed the shadow health secretary's frequent fact-finding tours of health systems across the world, with the proponent of a market-driven philosophy also finding much he liked in France and Australia.

Dr Fox has also attacked the government over its failure to stop "NHS tourism", people coming to the UK in order to get expensive healthcare free.

He is socially conservative in outlook, at one time even calling for a return of the flogging of criminals.

Entering parliament in 1992 in the safe seat of Woodspring near Bristol, he rose rapidly to become a whip and then a minister at the Foreign Office within a few years.

Educated at Glasgow University, Dr Fox was branded one of the sexiest men in parliament by a survey in a women's magazine.

He was thanked on the sleeve notes to the debut album of his friend, ex-Neighbours actress turned pop star Natalie Imbruglia.




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