LABOUR'S by-election candidate John O'Farrell has apologised for any upset his comments wishing Margaret Thatcher had been killed in a terrorist attack might have caused.
He has been condemned for saying he was disappointed that the assassination attempt - the IRA bombing of Brighton's Grand Hotel in 1984 - had failed.
Mr O'Farrell, speaking in Eastleigh today, said what he had written in his memoirs was an honest account of how he felt “for a split second” at the time, which he had then realised was wrong.
“I could write a book where I said I was a good person, I was a good person, I was a good person,” he said.
“I had a fleeting bad thought. I was an angry young man in the middle of the miners' strike.
“A terrible thought came into my head and I immediately castigated myself for it.
“I was honest because I said how I felt for a split second at the time.”
He said it was not his view now and had been taken out of context.
“I ask everyone to read that book and I think they'll want to vote for me more not less.
“I apologise for the upset to Tebbit and everyone concerned because I didn't want it taken out of context.
“If I wrote that book again I'd have to think about whether a combination of honest writer and politician could work."
The satirist wrote in the book published in 1998: “Why did she have to leave the bathroom two minutes earlier?”
He was referring to the fact that Lady Thatcher's bathroom was destroyed in the explosion, which claimed the lives of five people.
In response, Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit, whose wife was paralysed in the blast, has described Mr O'Farrell as an “incontinently voiced moral reprobate”.
Cllr Godfrey Olson, the leader of the Conservative group at Eastleigh Borough Council, has branded the comments “deplorable”.
More Eastleigh by-election stories