A high profile Respect Party member has apologised for causing any distress towards gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, for comments made in a newspaper column last week.

However, he stood by his comments labelling Mr Tatchell as one of Britain’s “most hate filled bigots” insisting it was a personal comment and by no means aimed at the gay community.

Gay rights group, Outrage, demanded an apology for Adam Yosef’s article in Asian weekly newspaper, Desi Express, which they feel incited violence and homophobia towards their leader.

Mr Yosef today insisted his words suggesting “Mr Tatchell needs a good slap,” were a figure of speech. He apologised for causing any distress but stood by claims that the activist was a bigot, he said: “I would like to stress that in no way are the comments an incitement of violence being instigated against Mr Tatchell. I do not support or promote any such violence.”

“The complete feature also included Nick Griffin of the BNP and Omar Bakri Mohammed of Al-Muhajiroun and all comments relating to them displayed a similar tone.”

“The section relating to Mr Tatchell was exclusively about Mr Tatchell as a public figure and not in any way an attack on the gay community.”

Desi Express also released an apology stating, “We would like to apologise to Peter Tatchell and the gay community for the offence and distress caused by comments written by Adam Yosef.”

“As a publication we do not have any prejudicial views against the gay community and the comments which appeared were personal opinions of Adam Yosef and do not represent the views of the publication.”

.