UK minister apologises for Weinstein 'joke' on live radio

London (AFP) –


A British minister apologised "unreservedly" on Saturday after making a joke about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on a live BBC radio show.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove drew immediate ire after comparing being interviewed by the programme's presenter with "going into Harvey Weinstein's bedroom," adding "you hope to emerge with your dignity intact".

Gove, who was facing questions from interviewer John Humphrys in a special edition of BBC Radio 4's "Today" show in front of a live audience, swiftly took to social media to say sorry for the remark.

"Apologies for my clumsy attempt at humour on R4 Today this morning -- it wasn't appropriate. I'm sorry and apologise unreservedly," he said on Twitter.

A former leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Lord Neil Kinnock, who was being interviewed alongside Gove, also faced criticism after joining in the attempted joke.

After Gove's comment he said: "John goes way past groping," referring to Humphrys.

The audience laughed and applauded in response, but the comments prompted an instant backlash on social media.

Lord Andrew Adonis, a former Labour education minister, called the remarks "seriously inappropriate" on Twitter.

Labour MP Jess Phillips also tweeted: "Michael Gove just left the studio without his dignity."

Weinstein is under police investigation in Britain and the US, and was fired from his film company this month, amid an avalanche of sexual harassment claims, and several rape allegations, dating back decades.

He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.