Spelman 'too old' claim denied

Downing Street has denied accusations David Cameron sacked Caroline Spelman as Environment Secretary because she was too old.

Claims that Mrs Spelman, 54, was told she had to go in this week's reshuffle because of her age emerged on a blog along with suggestions the Prime Minister was drinking wine when he told former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan she was being kicked out of the Cabinet.

No 10 aides denied that Mrs Spelman was axed because she was not young enough but refused to be drawn on whether the PM may have made the comments.

Asked if he disputed the account of the sacking the Prime Minister's official spokesman replied: "I don't want to get into private conversations that the Prime Minister has had with his ministers over the last few days but the answer to the question (was she sacked because she is too old) is no. You asked me whether she was sacked because she was too old and the answer is no."