Last Friday he was fined pounds 10 for failing to have a valid ticket when travelling to his home in Kennington, south London, after what he last night said was a "genuine mistake".
He had bought a carnet of 10 tickets, only valid on Zone 1 of the system, and so had paid 70p short of the proper fare for his journey. "It's just one of those things. I had a central zone ticket and I realised when I went up the lift I had gone too far," he said. "They said I couldn't pay the difference."
Mr Clarke, 59, strongly refuted claims that he kicked up a fuss during the incident, although admitted to telling the inspectors that the fine was "daft". "I behaved impeccably," he said. "As soon as I realised what I had done I approached the staff. I did not land in a heated exchange. I told them it was daft."
The former Conservative minister, who collects an MP's salary of pounds 45,000, and also holds a number of lucrative directorships, said he was more used to taking the bus than the Tube. He "simply made a mistake" because Kennington is the first stop of Zone 2 of the Underground. Perhaps, even after all this time, Mr Clarke is still missing the comfort of the ministerial limousine.Reuse content