Justice secretary Ken Clarke has accused the media of acting like a "lynch mob" in the furore over Baroness Warsi's failure to declare business links.

Warsi, the co-chair of the Conservative Party, appears to be narrowly clinging on to her political career amid a one-two punch of controversy over her expenses and business links.

In comments to the Press Association, Clarke said the allegations made aginst the Tory peer were "downright silly" and "pedantic".

Warsi agreed in May to submit her expenses to a parliamentary inquiry following allegations made by the Sunday Times that she claimed around £2,000 in expenses to live in a London flat, despite not paying rent.

Soon after, Cameron called in the adviser on ministers interests to look into Warsi's business dealings after she admitted that she did not inform civil servants that she shared a stake in a spice manufacturing firm with her relative Abid Hussain when the pair made a governmental trip to Pakistan.

Cameron is facing accusations of hypocrisy after taking official action on Warsi, after having decided against referring embattled culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to a ministerial inquiry over his actions during the News Corporation bid for BSkyB.

IN a letter of apology to Cameron, Warsi explained that her business relationship with Hussain, her husband's second cousin, was "widely known".

She adds: "However, I did not recognise, at the point that this visit was arranged, a need to disclose to my officials and the high commission that Abid Hussain and I have a common business interest as minority shareholders in a small food company [Rupert;s Recipes].

"It is important to note that my own interest in the company has always been fully declared and disclosed to Cabinet Office.

"I sincerely regret that I did not consider the significance of this relationship with Mr Hussain when the arrangements for the visit were being made.

"In retrospect, I accept that I should have made officials aware of the business relationship between Mr Hussain and myself, and for this I am sorry."

Cameron accepted Warsi's apology, although he said there were "clearly some issues for future handling". He later told the press he was "very happy" with her explanation.

Warsi has had a polarising effect on the public with her outspoken nature. She sparked outrage in February when she warned of a "culture war" over militant secularism.