Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary in the Conservative government, referred belittlingly to his Labour counterpart and aroused the ire of the speaker John Bercow who blasted him for his sexism.
Johnson apologized with the “I am sorry if you were offended” phrasing commonly used by people to avoid admitting that what they said was wrong, irrespective of whether the other person was offended or not.
John Bercow drew applause from Labour MPs when he upbraided the foreign secretary at Foreign Office questions in the Commons. Johnson then said he wished to prostrate himself in front of the Speaker, and that he apologised for “any inadvertent sexism or discourtesy that you may have deemed me to have been guilty of”.
“And I heartily tender my apologies to the right honourable lady if she was offended by what I said and I meant no harm. And I apologise unreservedly to her if I have offended the feelings of the right honourable lady.”
I have linked to clips of Bercow before. He strongly reminds me in his looks and way of speaking of Monty Python’s Terry Jones.