David Davis has issued an apology following the publication of leaked text messages in which he insulted Diane Abbott.
In a statement, the Brexit Secretary has declared his respect for the shadow home secretary in the midst of a storm of controversy following the Mail on Sunday's publishing of leaked texts which appeared to insult her appearance.
The texts were in relation to an exchange which reportedly took place just after the final vote on the bill to trigger Article 50 in the House of Commons.
Davis is said to have approached Abbott, who voted in favour of passing the bill, to "thank her" for voting the way she had done, hugging her and being told to "f*** off."
When a fellow Tory politician later asked him about it via text, he denied he had tried to kiss her, appearing to reference her appearance by saying he wasn't "blind" and saying that him trying to hug her would make a "good Optical Express advert."
Abbott is said to have been upset by the remarks, and the texts have been blasted by prominent Labour politicians like Chuka Umunna and Shami Chakrabarti, the former calling him "sexist", the latter calling him "patronising."
A spokesman for the Brexit Secretary said: “This was a self-evidently jocular and private exchange with a friend.
"The Secretary of State is sorry for offence caused to Diane Abbott, someone he has known and respected for many years.”