BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle has won an apology from Labour over an attack on his senior LibDem colleague Vince Cable’s voting record.

Shadow work spokesman Rachel Reeves accused the business secretary of ducking votes on the creation of the minimum wage in 1998. Mr Cable revealed: “I didn’t particularly want to raise this, but it has a lot to do with the fact my late wife was terminally ill at the time and I was in the Royal Marsden Hospital.

“That’s why my voting record at the time was poor.” Mr Cable’s first wife Olympia Rebelo died from cancer shortly after the 2001 election.

Three years later he married Rachel Wenban Smith. Mr Birtwistle said Ms Reeves' attack on Mr Cable's voting record had offended him adding: “I think she should really give some sort of apology. I accept she’s new and probably inexperienced.”

Shadow business minister Ian Murray apologised for the mistake.