A Labour MP has apologised for a social media joke which sparked accusations that he was making light of prostitution.
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock made the quip on Friday evening in response to a tweet from BBC presenter Nina Warhurst expressing her astonishment at being charged £12.60 for two beers and a packet of crisps in a London bar.
Mr Woodcock responded: “To be fair, I’ve paid that much in Barrow, but it does come with a hand job.”
The comment sparked a number of outraged responses on Twitter, including from one Labour member who branded it “awful”. Mr Woodcock also revealed that he was also contacted by fellow Labour MP Sarah Champion, a prominent campaigner against sexual exploitation, who asked him to take the post down.
After deleting the tweet, Mr Woodcock issued an apology about what he described as “a throwaway and not very original joke about the steep prices in London bars”.
He said: “I should just have kept my lame sense of humour to myself anyway, but on reflection I definitely shouldn’t have made a casual reference to a sexual service which could have implied I was flippant about the damage done by the sex trade in the UK. I am sorry, I definitely did not mean to disrespect anyone.”
Mr Woodcock’s apology did not please some Twitter users, with one going under the name The Cat posting: “Yes it was a lame joke but everybody makes those and don’t apologise, neither should you!”