Except for a tiresome interregnum when Ken Clarke wanted to talk about making secret intelligence available to the courts, MPs had two hours across lunchtime to talk about Liam Fox. Starting with prime minister’s questions, the opportunity to indulge went right through to the former international man of mystery’s personal statement to the House just before two o’clock. In fact, if only had our legislators been sharper they would have realised that even the Justice Secretary’s stint at the despatch box was no barrier to dissecting Dr Fox and his interesting adventures. There is plenty of secret intelligence relating to this matter that MPs suspect has not yet been laid before the court of credulous opinion.

The prime minister dealt somewhat peremptorily with Ed Miliband’s initial assaults on Fox, arguing that the Leader of the Opposition had left it too late. This seemed rather unfair. If Mr Cameron is going to make it a rule that the Leader of the Opposition is out of order questioning him on matters after they have taken place, this is going to make it rather difficult for Mr Miliband to do his job.  Mr Miliband was being punished, we suspect, for not raising Dr Fox last week, when maybe the prime minister would have found it more congenial occupying that particular patch of moral high ground reserved for men who have set up an inquiry, than defending last Wednesday’s hideous unemployment numbers. Since the aforementioned inquiry only reported yesterday, Mr Miliband might have considered himself within his rights to bring it up.

Anyway, the prime minister had his answer ready, which is that since Dr Fox has resigned the matter is closed. He didn’t quite utter the dread phrase “move on” (this was left for an unctuous Tory backbencher later on when the Leader of the House was making his statement), but you could see it fluttering in front of him, like a balmy Autumn butterfly. Mr Cameron’s strategy, it seems, was rather more theological than political: absolution having been achieved through the act of relinquishing office, all Dr Fox’s sins have been washed away.  Mr Miliband was furious. The prime minister should show a little more humility he suggested, but it was a hopeless plea. This is an opponent who commissions his reports from GOD and who has every intention of entering heaven in a state of grace.

Mr Clarke having come and gone, the battle moved to a different foxhole (this, I believe, is the last remaining fox pun yet to be used in reporting this saga) as the willowy Sir George Young turned up to deliver a statement on the O’Donnell report.  Tory questioners ran out fairly quickly, leaving the Leader of the House to be assaulted on the matter by assorted Labour hoodlums.  Being easily the most courteous man in the universe, Sir George took all of this in his stride, even if the effect was like watching a curate being surrounded by a group of happy slappers.  To one especially vindictive questioner, who would have been all for having Dr Fox dragged from the MoD  and disembowelled in Whitehall, the moment the Guardian caught the scent of something iffy, Sir George replied that it was necessary to proceed with a sense of decency and fair play. Only the gentle baronet could say a line like that in the House of Commons and get away with it.

And so we came to Dr Fox’s own personal statement, which was heard in the traditional silence and sense of rising anticipation that the speaker would slag off the prime minister.  But it was a desperately dull affair, full of tributes to the people of North Somerset, to friends, relations, advisers (official) who had dutifully combined to keep the former defence secretary going these last 20 years.  Of his supposed role as a crack secret agent, whizzing between continents in the company of the faithful Werrity and pulling off various daring coups on behalf of his shady foreign paymasters, we heard nothing. I suppose we shall have to wait for the memoirs.

In fact we heard nothing of Mr Werrity whatsoever, thus denying us even the small satisfaction of discovering whether Dr Fox has decided how to pronounce his amanuensis’ name. We have Werrity and Verity. We also have a man usually described in the public prints as Adam, but quite often as Andrew instead. That makes a combination of four different identities and I dare say that if you were to slit open the lining of Mr Werrity/Verity’s well-travelled suitcase, you would find a fake passport for each one.  Like the giant rat of Sumatra, however, this is a tale for which the world is not yet ready. The House moved to a 10-minute rule bill on the subject of regulating debt management companies and the moment passed.