A Labour MP today insisted a tweet he posted suggesting former MP Louise Mensch was not a “good little girl” was ironic.
Austin Mitchell said he was surprised at the negative reaction to his post on Twitter that a "good wife doesn't disagree with her master in public".
The Grimsby MP tweeted after the former Tory MP insisted she quit her Corby seat for family reasons, not because she faced an election drubbing as her husband Peter suggested in a Sunday Times Magazine interview.
Mr Mitchell tweeted: "Shut up Menschkin. A good wife doesn't disagree with her master in public and a good little girl doesn't lie about why she quit politics."
Mr Mitchell later insisted he "loved" Mrs Mensch and suggested the message should be taken as a joke.
He told the Press Association: "It was ironic. I'm surprised that people have taken it so negatively. What happened to humour?"
Asked what he thought women in the Labour Party would make of his comments Mr Mitchell said: "The intelligent, smart and sophisticated ones will react positively.
"I love Louise Mensch and was very disappointed when the remarried."
Mrs Mensch took to the site to respond to Mr Mitchell and called for Labour leader Ed Miliband to get involved. She wrote: "Lovely to see AvMitchell2010 speaking for the Labour party on feminism. "her master"? "a good wife doesn't disagree with her master"? Nice.
"Can I have a repudiation from Ed Miliband please? My husband is my partner. And it's 2012. £feminism.
"And AVmitchell2010 might also want to acknowledge that spouses (even Labour spouses) sometimes get it wrong."