UK justice minister says he overreacted by hiring private eye to snoop on his staff

LONDON (AP) — A British minister says he hired private detectives to spy on his staff after unflattering stories appeared in the media.

Jonathan Djanogly, a Conservative Party lawmaker and junior justice minister, said on Friday he "may have overreacted," in assigning sleuths last year to pose as reporters.

Djanogly had been accused in press reports of misusing his expenses, an allegation he denied.

The legislator says he ordered a report detailing the private opinions of staff and party officials about the case, and about him personally.

Derek Holley, a former council leader in Djanogly's district, was among those questioned. He has called on the minister to consider his position.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office said Djanogly had the leader's backing.