Cabinet minister Liam Fox intervened to help a baby in distress on a flight to the Philippines, it has emerged.
The international trade secretary, who was a GP before becoming a politician, answered a call for help when a nine-month-old had a seizure.
The Sun reported that Dr Fox diagnosed the child with febrile convulsion and helped bring its temperature down.
It happened seven hours into a flight from London to the Philippines, a spokesman for Dr Fox confirmed.
Dr Fox was on his way to meet the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte overnight between Sunday and Monday and it is understood he responded to a call from flight attendants for help, when the baby became ill. The child reportedly made a full recovery before landing.
The cabinet minister’s spokesman said he had checked the baby again before the flight landed on Monday morning.
Dr Fox, who studied medicine at Glasgow University, worked as a GP and a civilian army medical officer before entering politics in 1992. His medical skills have been called upon before – in 2011 he answered another call for a doctor on a flight from Istanbul to London to help a pregnant woman in difficulty. At the time his spokesman said it was the third time in four years he had been called upon for help.
The international trade secretary, who visited the Philippines calling for closer ties with the nation, has faced some criticism for suggesting the UK’s relationship with the country was “built on a foundation of shared values and shared interests” in an article for Philippines Business World.
President Duterte has attracted much controversy for his bloody drug war and undiplomatic remarks since taking office. The hallmark of Mr Duterte’s administration so far has been a relentless crackdown on drug dealers and users and he has urged citizens and the police to conduct extra-judicial killings of suspects.
Labour’s Barry Gardiner said Dr Fox’s comments were “shocking” adding: “We do not have these shared common values with President Duterte who wants to bring back the death penalty and lower the age of criminal responsibility to nine.”
Lib Dem Tom Brake added: “Duterte is one of the 21st century’s most sinister leaders and Liam Fox has flown halfway around the world to grovel to him.”
A Department of International Trade spokesman said closer ties would help Britain raise these issues adding: “We do not shy away from confronting barriers to trade and investment – including issues of human rights and corruption.
“Greater knowledge and understanding of one another will increase our ability to address those issues that concern us.”