Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was left red-faced when he likened the choice for the UK electorate in last week's EU elections to that of "four really ugly girls".
The comments were made during Thursday night’s edition of Question Time, where Barton was a panellist. The misfired metaphor was the 31-year-old’s way of lambasting the deficit of credible options available to voters - of which he attributes to Ukip's ‘protest vote’ victory.
Arguing with Louise Bours, Ukip MEP and fellow panellist on the show, Barton said: ‘All you represent as Ukip is the best of a bad bunch. If there was four really ugly girls, I'm thinking she's not the worst - that's all you are.’
The audience groaned, with some condemning Barton over the sexist comment a number of times, while one said: ‘You're going to get buried for that on Twitter.’ Acknowledging his slip-up, the former Manchester City midfielder responded by apologising on air shortly after, blaming the blunder on nerves.
‘Maybe I was a little nervous,’ he said. ‘My brains are in my feet.’
Despite the faux pas, Barton recovered during the remainder of the show and his contributions, despite the initial jeering, were well received by the audience.
Many viewers were undoubtedly tuning to the BBC in the hope of a continuation of Barton's ongoing Twitter spat with Piers Morgan. The pair have been trading insults for weeks after Morgan taunted Barton over a 12-match ban he received for an on-field discretion.
They were expected to be in feisty form after both were announced as guests, but nothing materialised. Bizarrely, the two seem to have come away with a newfound mutual appreciation, as demonstrated by the following Tweets from Morgan during an after-show dinner.