Andy Burnham has asked Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to substantiate his claims that the Labour MP hid hospital failings in a "cover up".
He said he was concerned that disclosure rules had been broken and challenged Mr Hunt to apologise.
It is impossible to see how you can claim this mounted to a cover-up," he told him in a letter.
I therefore ask you, by the end of today, to provide me with evidence to substantiate your assertion.
If you fail to provide such evidence, I will require a full retraction and public apology. If that is not forthcoming I will consider further action.
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Cloud and outbreaks of rain will ease away eastwards during the morning, clearing the east coast around midday with sunny spells developing.
Police and emergency services are attending the scene.
Rebel-held east remains at risk while the pumping station supplying the western part of the city is once again in operation.