London, June 21 : British Cabinet Minister Andy Burnham has written to leading human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti to express his regret over allegations that he smeared her by making suggestive remarks about her relationship with David Davis.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, had taken the extraordinary step of threatening to take legal action against Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, and demanding that he issue a written apology.
Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, insisted that he did not intend the remarks, made earlier this week in a magazine interview, to be seen as an "attempted character assassination", The Telegraph reported.
"The very last thing I set out to do was to cause any personal offence to you, your family or any other party. If this is what has happened by the misinterpretation of my remarks, then I regret that," he said.
Burnham said he was "not the kind of person who sets out to cause personal offence", and claimed he was "genuinely taken aback" by how his comments have been interpreted.
Burnham said that he hoped that his letter would draw a line under the affair.
Last night, Chakrabarti said: "I am grateful for Burnham's personal letter which seems to show genuine regret for the distress that his remarks caused me and my family. These remarks coincided with a relentless campaign of Westminster gossip that could only have distracted from serious issues."
"I am glad that the Culture Secretary wants to move on to issues of policy and hope that he and others will remember the value of treating fellow human beings with dignity and respect," she added.
Earlier, Chakrabarti had written a strongly worded letter to Burnham after he accused her of having "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" with Davis, former shadow Home Secretary.
Chakrabarti, 39, who is married with a young son, has failed to see the funny side of the remarks in this week's Progress magazine, The Telegraph reported.