Ken Clarke has launched a stinging attack on the media for acting like a "lynch mob" against Cabinet colleagues Jeremy Hunt and Baroness Warsi.
The Justice Secretary dismissed some of the allegations against the Tory peer as "downright silly" and "pedantic".
The comments came as David Cameron delivered a strong signal that Lady Warsi's job is safe despite ordering an investigation into her failure to declare business links.
The Prime Minister said he was "very happy" with the Conservative Party chairman's explanation after it emerged she took relative and business partner Abid Hussain on an official trip to Pakistan.
He also dismissed accusations that he was employing double standards by resisting an investigation into Mr Hunt, saying the two cases were "very different".
However on Tuesday the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the culture secretary’s conduct warranted investigation as much as Baroness Warsi's.
Sir Alistair Graham told the Daily Telegraph the case for an inquiry into the culture secretary's behaviour was was "very strong".
"If there is found to be no substance to the allegation then that is fine, but at least people will have seen that in an important case that due process has been observed," he said
Mr Hussain accompanied the Tory peer when she visited Pakistan in July 2010, soon after the coalition came to power.
In a letter apologising to the Premier yesterday, Lady Warsi described Mr Hussain as a "community activist" who had helped the British High Commission with outreach events.
Although it was "widely known" that Mr Hussain was her husband's second cousin, she had not realised the need to declare that they also had "a common business interest as minority shareholders in a small food company".
"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," she wrote.
Mr Cameron responded that there were "clearly some issues for future handling" and his independent adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan, would be considering "the issues that have been raised with respect to the Ministerial Code".
In broadcast interviews today, the Prime Minister batted away suggestions that Lady Warsi was being treated more harshly than Mr Hunt, who has not faced investigation by Sir Alex over his handling of News Corporation's BSkyB bid.
"They were two very different cases. In the case of Jeremy Hunt, obviously all of that has been gone through by the Leveson Inquiry," he told Sky News.
"In the case of Sayeeda Warsi, I am very happy with the explanation she has given. She has apologised for the mistake she has made but I think it right for Sir Alex Allan just to see if there are any loose ends that need to be picked up. It's no more than that."
Mr Clarke told BBC Radio 4's PM programme it was right that senior politicians were put under "very close scrutiny".
"But there is a bit of a fashion at the moment, the media do tend to act as a bit of a pack and they are steadily working through my colleagues trying to find things to complain about," he said.
"Sayeeda (Warsi), I am astonished by some of the complaints against her. It really is pedantic, some of it.
"The question of this guy who went with her to Pakistan, who is a relative, whether or not he was going there in any way which furthered a business interest will now be looked at by Alex Allan."
Mr Clarke said journalists did sometimes become a "bit of a lynch mob, racing about finding extraordinary things to complain about".
"Some of the ones against Sayeeda frankly were downright silly," he went on.
"Alex Allan will have a look at it and I trust Sayeeda will be able to satisfy him that there was no impropriety."
Although he stressed he had not discussed the matter with the Prime Minister, Mr Clarke said he presumed Lady Warsi was being treated differently to Mr Hunt because she had not given evidence to Leveson.
Earlier, Tory backbencher Louise Mensch said Mr Cameron had little option over referring the matter to his adviser, as Lady Warsi admitted making a mistake.
But she added: "As both the Prime Minister and Lady Warsi said in their letters, the breach is really pretty minor, based on the fact that the guy did not go out at taxpayers' expense and did not receive any financial benefit from the trip."
But fellow Conservative Nadine Dorries suggested that although the peer was "probably completely innocent", she should stand down while the investigation takes place.
"When she is found innocent, David Cameron should provide his full support and reinstate her," she told the Financial Times.
Labour frontbencher Michael Dugher said: "Doing the right thing by referring Baroness Warsi to the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code only exposes David Cameron's failure to act in relation to Jeremy Hunt."
Prime Minister David Cameron
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Chancellor George Osborne
Foreign Secretary William Hague
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
After a stressful year in the DCMS, Jeremy Hunt moves from Culture to Health, replacing Andrew Lansley.
Home Secretary Theresa May
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude
Chief Secretary To The Treasury Danny Alexander
Minister without Portfolio, Ken Clarke
Having stepped down from the Justice Department, Clarke is supposedly staying in Government rather than hanging up his boots. Chris Grayling will replace him as Justice Secretary.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling
Chris Grayling, formerly in the Department of Work and Pensions, will step up to hold the job vacated by Ken Clarke.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller
Maria Miller has taken up the DCMS job after Jeremy Hunt moved to the Department of Health. Miller is one of the few new faces in the cabinet.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
Education Secretary Michael Gove
Minister for Internation Development, Justine Greening
Greening, who has been subject to plenty of rumours since her fallout over a potential third Heathrow runway. Greening was in No 10 for over an hour on Tuesday, presumably arguing her case and battling to stay in the cabinet. She will now take over Andrew Mitchell's spot at DfID.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
McLoughlin, who has spent the past two years handling backbench rebels as Chief Whip, moves to the DfT, taking over from under-pressure Justine Greening. Greening has yet to be moved.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey
Attorney General Dominic Grieve
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin
Warsi, one of the earlest victims of the reshuffle, has been ousted as party co-chairman and is to be replaced by Grant Shapps. Warsi instead moves to to the Foreign Office as a junior minister, while also working as faith and communities minister.
Party Co-Chairman Grant Shapps
Shapps, who was the housing minister, is bumped up to party chairman, taking over from the demoted Sayeeda Warsi.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson
Spelman leaves her post, to be replaced by the former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson.
Work And Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
Leader of the House Andrew Lansley
Despite recently setting in motion huge overhauls to the NHS, Lansley has been moved to fill Sir George Young's spot as Leader of the House. Jeremy Hunt will succeed him in the Department of Health.
Business Secretary Vince Cable
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers
Theresa Villiers, who gave nothing away as she approached Parliament with a wide smile on her face on Tuesday, replaces Owen Paterson. Paterson has moved to Defra.
Welsh Secretary David Jones
Cheryl Gillan was one name always likely to be taken off the list, and she is replaced by David Jones, who served beneath her as a Minister for Wales.
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore
Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell has moved moved from the Department for International Development to the role of Chief Whip, replacing Patrick McLoughlin.
Lords Leader Lord Strathclyde