02/10/2014 11:26 BST | Updated 02/10/2014 11:59 BST

Matt Hancock Apologises For Retweeting 'Labour Are Queer' Poem

A Tory minister and close ally of George Osborne has had to apologise for retweeting a limerick that the Labour Party was "queer".

Skills minister Matt Hancock retweeted the short poem about Ed Miliband's party on Wednesday, National Poetry Day, evidently without reading far enough down to see the line describing it as being "quite full of queers."

He hastily deleted it, but not before left-wing blog Political Scrapbook spotted it.

Hancock, who is 36 today, called it an accident and tweeted an apology, saying: "Previous RT was a total accident. I wholeheartedly disagree with offensive comment in the tweet am incredibly sorry for any offence caused."

But the apology wasn't enough for Labour MPs Steve Reed and Chris Bryant, who called for Hancock to be sacked in near identical tweets.

Hancock had the poem tweeted to him after he tweeted his own poem: "There was a young man called Red Ed, Whose deficit ne'er entered his head, He simply forgot, He's losing the plot, So I'm voting Cameron instead."

The poem he was sent said: “The party run by young Ed/Is quietly going quite dead/Bereft of ideas/Quite full of queers/No wonder the faithful have fled.”

The bio of the user who wrote the poem, In A Flap, says: Tory and proud of my country. Anti right-on. Anti PC. If you live in UK then live by our rules."

The incident prompted one poet to tweet her own effort about what happened.