The Ukip MEP who caused a stir by referring collectively to countries that receive aid from the United Kingdom as "bongo bongo land" has apologised - sort of.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, Godfrey Bloom said: "I used a term which I subsequently gather under certain circumstances could be interpreted as pejorative."
He added: "Although quite clearly no such personal usage was intended, I understand from Ukip party chairman Steve Crowther and leader Nigel Farage that I must not use the terminology in the future, nor will I and sincerely regret any genuine offence which might have been caused or embarrassment to my colleagues."
The apology came after Bloom spent much of the day resolutely defending his comments.
And the MEP said despite the controversy he was pleased that the furore had ensured a public debate about development aid.
"My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1 billion per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here," he said.
"Ring fenced overseas aid at nearly 70% of estimated GDP growth next year, some to buy arms - Mirage fighters in Argentina is just one example. My constituents come first and always will, they put me here to speak for them."
Earlier, Bloom told Sky News he did not believe the phrase "bongo bongo land" was racist, suggesting it only offended those in the "Westminster bubble" and that his constituents in Yorkshire did not take offence.
Bloom insisted he was trying to open up debate on Britain's overseas aid spending, saying he was standing up for ordinary people and that he believed charity begins at home.
He had told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "If I've offended anybody in bongo bongo land, I shall write to the ambassador at the Court of St James's and apologise to him personally."
Ukip chairman Steve Crowther admitted the term "could seem disparaging" but denied it was racist.
He told Sky News: "It's very odd to be asked why something isn't racist. In my opinion it is a rather outdated description of foreign parts.
"To me it doesn't sound like anybody banging drums. It sounds like a shorthand way of saying places around the world which are in receipt of foreign aid.
"It's not in itself the right word to use and it could seem disparaging to people who come from foreign countries and that's why I've asked him not to do it again."
Bloom's reference to "bongo bongo land" was revealed in a video of a July speech in Wordsley, near Stourbridge.
In the video, obtained by the Guardian, Bloom says: "How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month, when we're in this sort of debt, to bongo bongo land is completely beyond me.
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GOING DOWN: 1997 General Election
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GOING UP: James Goldsmith Dies
The unfortunate death of the rival party leader led to the dissolution of the Referendum Party with many members subsequently joining Ukip.
GOING UP: 1999 Elections To European Parliament
Ukip got 7% of the vote and gained three MEPs. This jolly looking chap, Jeffrey Titford, was one of them.
GOING DOWN: Holmes Resignation And 2001 General Election
Holmes was forced to resign in 200 due to a conflict between himself and the Ukip's National Executive Committee. Titford became leader. In the following year's general election Ukip failed to gain any seats with a 1.5% of the vote. (The man pictured is not a member Ukip but a pictorial representation of the misery felt by the party during this difficult time)
GOING STEADY: Knapman Takes Over
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GOING WAY UP: 2004 European Elections
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GOING DOWN TO THE PERMA-TANNED BOTTOM: Kilroy
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GOING UP PAST THE TORIES: Hartlepool By-Election
Ukip finished third in 2004 above the Conservatives who came fourth. <a href="http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Justice+4+flour+dad.-a0124833105" target="_blank">In other news this flour incident also happened.</a>
GOING DOWN TO THE BEACH: 2005 General Election
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GOING UP. OR DOWN DEPENDING ON YOUR OPINION OF THIS MAN: Nigel Farage
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GOING UP WITH BAGS OF CASH
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GOING DOWN WITH SOME DODGY FRIENDS: Geert Widlers
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GOING UP THROUGH THE POLITICAL GLASS CEILING: 2009 European Elections
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GOING DOWN AGAIN: 2010 General Election
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GOING UP A LITTLE BIT: Farage Re-Election
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GOING UP HIGHER THAN THEY'D EVER BEEN BEFORE: Rotherham By-Election
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GOING UP SO MUCH IT MADE FARAGE DO THIS FACE: Eastleigh By-Election
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GOING DOWN WITH RACIAL PREJUDICE: Election Candidate Scandals
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FLYING HIGH: Local Elections 2013
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