A senior Labour MP has apologised after joking on Twitter about the communities secretary dying during the London Marathon.
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan – who is set to run the long-distance race next month – posted a private letter from former Labour leader Neil Kinnock that suggested he take Eric Pickles with him ‘so we have a helpful by-election’.
Khan quickly removed the tweet, offering ‘profuse apologies to Eric Pickles’ later that afternoon.
Conservative MPs branded the joke ‘offensive’ and Kinnock has confirmed he has written a letter of apology to Pickles.
Speaking to MailOnline, Tory MP Priti Patel said: ‘Endorsing personal remarks about a cardiac arrest shows they are not fit to govern. These desperate, offensive, personal attacks show them up for they are: the same old nasty Labour Party.’
A later message from the communities secretary suggested the rift with Khan had been patched.
Happy to accept @SadiqKhan apology for an inappropriate tweet. So far as I am concerned the matter is closed— Eric Pickles (@EricPickles) March 27, 2014