Conservative MP Matt Hancock has issued a grovelling apology for an offensive tweet which claimed the Labour party was "full of q****s."
Hancock retweeted the derogatory homophobic statement, which forms part of an old limerick, in his capacity as Skills minister on National Poetry Day.
The Tory member for West Suffolk hurriedly took down the offending rhyme when he became aware of his Twitter blunder.
He said it had been "a total accident."
Hancock's use of an antique slur against homosexuals comes as deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was branded "a w****r" by one of Home Secretary Theresa May's aides.
Together, the episodes add to an outbreak of incivility within the ranks of Conservative Party, just after the end of the party's conference.
Liberal Democrat Clegg has demanded an apology for the insult, which came after he obstructed plans by May for a "snoopers charter" giving officials fresh power to snoop on individuals' web history.
May called the Tories' yellow-hued partners in government "outrageously irresponsible" for disrupting the Communicaions Data Bill's progress in to law.
Clegg said the foul-mouthed slur against him marked a "new low point in coalition relations."