Prince Charles is rumoured to have lobbied Prime Minister Tony Blair on a badger cull to halt the growing problem of bovine tuberculosis.

A leaked ministerial document was said to have recorded details of a meeting between the Prince of Wales and Mr Blair after the dairy herd at the prince’s Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire was found to have succumbed to bovine tuberculosis.

A spokeswoman for the prince refused to be drawn on the contents of the memo but, she said, the prince had strong views on bovine TB and was deeply concerned at the disease’s progress.

She added that the herd at Highgrove was currently clear of TB – although it had suffered breakdowns in the past.

“We have had reactors before. But at the moment we’re all clear.”