Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has admitted he had a relationship with a sex worker but said he did not know her real occupation.
Mr Whittingdale said he ended the relationship as soon as he found out, in February 2014.
He insisted it had not compromised his job as culture, media and sport secretary, which he began in May 2015.
“It has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary,” he said in a statement.
Downing Street said Mr Whittingdale “is a single man entitled to a private life” and had the full confidence of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Mr Whittingdale told BBC Newsnight: “Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com.
“She was a similar age and lived close to me. At no time did she give me any indication of of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.
“This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time. The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary.”
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the question for Mr Whittingdale was not about his relationship, but about his role in regulating the press when the newspapers had a story about his private life.
Labour shadow cabinet minister Chris Bryant, who was shadow culture secretary until September last year, said: “It seems the press were quite deliberately holding a sword of Damocles over John Whittingdale.
“He has a perfect right to a private life but as soon as he knew this he should have withdrawn from all …read more
Source:: BBC UK