BREXIT Secretary David Davis has apologised after saying he would never kiss Labour’s Diane Abbott because he is “not blind” and she would make a good eye test.

Labour MPs said the remarks showed a “misogynistic, sexist attitude” from the 1950s.

Mr Davis's spokesman called them as “self-evidently jocular".

The row blew up after a newspaper published text messages from Mr Davis to a Tory colleague about the shadow home secretary’s looks.

It was reported last week that after MPs voted on Article 50 at Westminster, Mr Davis tried to embrace Ms Abbott in a Commons bar only for her to tell him to “f*** off”.

The Mail on Sunday reported that a friend texted Mr Davis about the alleged exchange, saying: “Cannot believe you made an attempt to give DA (Diane Abbott) a hug!"

The Brexit Secretary responded: "Didn't, but the myth grows. I whispered in her ear 'Thanks for your vote' hence the 'F off'. I am not blind."

His colleague replied: "Ha! Ha! Thank God you aren't blind. Great week for you and Brexit!"

Then, apparently referring to the Specsavers adverts in which people with poor eyesight make embarrassing mistakes, Mr Davis texted: "Actually it would make a good Optical Express advert."

On Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said: "I think it's sexist, I think it's misogynistic. It's appalling. This type of behaviour has absolutely no place in the Conservative Party or British politics full stop. This is a member of the cabinet.

“What does that say about that party to the country, if he is coming out with that sort of thing about a very respected long-serving member of the House of Commons?"

Labour MP Jess Phillips added: "You'd have hoped this sort of misogynistic, sexist attitude had gone out in the 1950s."

A spokesman for the Brexit Secretary insisted Mr Davis respected Ms Abbott and had been joking, saying: "This was a self-evidently jocular and private exchange with a friend.

"The Secretary of State is very sorry for any offence caused to Miss Abbott, someone he has known and respected for many years."