Monday, January 4, 1999 Published at 13:47 GMT
Quitting Whelan blames media
Charlie Whelan: Will leave when replacement is found
The government hopes controversy over Peter Mandelson's home loan will finally end following the resignation of the chancellor's press secretary.
Shortly after, the one surviving spin doctor from Labour's election-winning team blasted the media for their obsession with government spokespersons.
The prime minister's official spokesman, Alastair Campbell, insisted: "What really matters in Government are the policies we are implementing."
But, in a statement, he said he could not longer carry on at his present job.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that I was not responsible for disclosing any information about Peter Mandelson's mortgage and I refute any suggestion that I was.
Mr Whelan returned to work on Monday after spending 10 days out of contact after allegations he leaked information that led to the resignation of Mr Mandelson.
Like Mr Mandelson and Mr Robinson before him, Mr Whelan left his job still insisting he had done nothing wrong.
The prime minister's spokesman also said there was "no evidence" Mr Whelan had leaked against the former trade secretary.
He added that he did not believe Mr Whelan was the source.
But some Cabinet ministers had been reported to have been demanding Mr Whelan's resignation.
In a number of areas, Mr Whelan's departure is being treated as just rewards for previous briefings against Labour ministers, even if he is innocent in this case.
The Mirror denies that the memo was leaked to journalist Paul Routledge by his close friend Charlie Whelan.
Mr Routledge told BBC Radio 4's World at One he thought Mr Whelan did not hold him responsible for the end of his Treasury career.
"I think he has taken the view that the game isn't worth the candle - that this kind of pressure is too great and he may as well go and do something different," he said.
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