Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, has announced his intention to return to ministerial office despite continued inquiries into his links with self-styled adviser Adam Werritty.
In his first interview since resigning and admitting he had broken ministerial rules Mr Fox said he would like to return to front-line politics.
"I would certainly like to get back to the front bench; how quickly is another matter," he told BBC Radio Bristol.
Downing Street moved quickly to play down any speculation about an early return.
Asked whether David Cameron would welcome Dr Fox back into his ministerial team, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "It is perhaps unsurprising that he has aspirations to return to the front bench. He did good work while he was Defence Secretary. But he resigned only a few days ago."
Mr Fox, who still faces a possible police inquiry and a complaint to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, said in the interview that his relationship with Mr Werritty – whom he met 40 times in the Ministry of Defence and on trips abroad – had contravened Whitehall rules.
"My mistake there was to effectively allow someone to function as an independent adviser and that is not allowed under the Ministerial Code," he said.
Last night, Jon Moulton, the millionaire venture capitalist who claimed Mr Fox had personally invited him to help fund a not-for-profit company run by Mr Werritty, complained that he was "mugged" when he donated the money. He told BBC2's Newsnight:"I was at great pains to get written assurances as to what it was used for, which bore absolutely no resemblance to what it was used for.
"If you look at the dictionary, the definition of 'foxed' is 'discoloured with yellowish brown staining', and I fear it might be reasonably appropriate," he added.