Clark: someone's out to smear me
David Clark, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, made the comment after newspaper stories appeared about the pounds 50,000 cost of three fact-finding visits to the US, Canada, and Australia to compare international freedom of information laws.
Dr Clark was said to have upset his officials by travelling first class while they went club class.
Another report referred to the minister having lost some of his baggage on one trip - information which could only have been known to a few officials.
During the summer the minister was the object of criticism over delays to the Freedom of Information Bill, which he blamed on the civil service. Some reports have tipped him as a possible victim in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Dr Clark said: "I don't think there's any doubt that there is somebody running a smear campaign against me. The media has considerable detail, basically much of it true. Somebody somewhere is digging out information and giving it to the press."
Later he said he did not believe a fellow minister was behind the campaign. That ruled out the possibility that Dr Clark was identifying Peter Mandelson, a minister of state in his department, as the culprit.
One source said: "He has a very good relationship with his civil servants, but civil servants would be the first to accept that official information should not be used or abused in any way which can be seen to undermine his work."
The Conservatives seized on the row, arguing that Dr Clark was a victim of the "culture of briefing and counter-briefing which surrounds and pervades this government".
Gillian Shephard, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: "David Clark is claiming that he is the victim of his own government's leaking.
"Dr Clark should account for these trips and immediately ask the Prime Minister to order a leak inquiry which should cover all those with access to this type of information, including Mr Blair's own staff."
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...