Former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has apologised for a remark she made during a Labour meeting that has upset some in the party.
The MP, who chairs Labour’s national executive, reportedly called former MP Laura Pidcock a “silly cow”.
Ms Beckett told the BBC she had “muttered something” during a virtual meeting without realising her mic was on, but had apologised immediately.
“I deeply regret the remark which was unjustifiable,” she added.
The veteran MP for Derby South, who was a whip for Labour in the 1970s, and rose to cabinet level positions during the Tony Blair era of government, remains a big player in the party.
Ms Pidcock, who was a shadow minister on Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench, lost her North West Durham seat in the 2019 election but remains a well-known figure on the left.
She has been approached for a comment.
A number of members of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) took to Twitter after the meeting on Thursday to criticise Ms Beckett’s actions.
Howard Beckett, who represents the Unite union at the NEC, said it was “truly shocking”, while local party representative Mish Rahman called it “embarrassing… and deeply inappropriate”.
Another local Labour representative who was at the meeting, Gemma Bolton, said the incident was “completely unacceptable, even more so from the NEC chair”.
She tweeted: “As women in the movement, we build each other up, not tear each other down.
“When we disagree, we do so with courtesy. We do not call each other names.”
Asked about the incident by BBC Online, Ms Beckett said: “I muttered something to myself in exasperation and my microphone was on.
“I apologised immediately and have done so again.”
She added: “I deeply regret the remark, which was unjustifiable.”
The row comes days after a council leader was suspended from the Welsh Labour Party after being recorded calling a Senedd member a “cow” – although the BBC understands there were other contributing factors to his suspension.