David Cameron said he was "very sorry" if he offended anyone by describing Commons heckling by Ed Balls like "having someone with Tourette's sitting opposite you".
The Prime Minister said his jibe at the Shadow Chancellor, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, had been made "off the cuff". It sparked an angry backlash from disability campaigners who said it showed a lack of understanding of the inherited neurological condition.
"I was speaking off the cuff and if I offended anyone, of course I am very sorry about that," Mr Cameron told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. "That was not my intention at all."
He said he had to learn how to "tune out" barracking from opponents during noisy debates. "It's a lesson for me that in the Commons I have to try to tune out the noise and try to concentrate on trying to answer the question," he said. Mr Balls' gestures and comments directed at Mr Cameron have become a regular feature of question time. "He just annoys me," Mr Cameron said.