Owen Smith apologises for "lunatic" comments: "I was referring to myself"

Mark Sands
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Jeremy Corbyn And Owen Smith Take Part In The First Labour Leadership Debate
Labour will choose a new leader in a special conference set for September 24 (Source: Getty)

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith has apologised for “lunatic” comments made last night.

At a rally in Hammersmith last night, Smith promised he wouldn't be “a lunatic” at the top of the party if he is selected as leader in one month's time.

"What you won't get from me is some, you know, lunatic at the top of the Labour party, you'll have someone who tries to form a coherent narrative about what's wrong with Britain," Smith said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately called for an apology from Smith, over what Corbyn claimed was "personal abuse" and offensive to people suffering with mental illness.

But this morning Smith responded by claiming his comments referred to himself.

Speaking on BBC Radio, he said: "I was talking about me, I was saying I wasn’t a lunatic, I was talking about myself."

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Smith said this did not constitute an apologise to Corbyn directly, but added that he regretted any offence caused by his words.

"I am occasionally a bit colourful with my language… I need to be a bit less colourful," he said.

It comes after Smith was challenged over his threat to “smash Theresa May back on her heels” at a rally early in the campaign.

He later described the comments as "an inappropriate choice of phrase".

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