Joey Barton has apologised for comparing UKIP to one of "four really ugly girls" during his debut appearance on BBC's Question Time on Thursday night.
Gasps from the audience were heard when the Queens Park Rangers midfielder said: "If I'm somewhere and there was four really ugly girls, I'm thinking... well, she's not the worst - that's all you (UKIP) are."
Barton, who was joined on the panel by Piers Morgan, later apologised and cited first-night nerves for the comment.
"I apologise. I couldn't think of a better one. It's my first time. Maybe I was a little bit nervous," he said.
The 31-year-old then took to Twitter, writing of the incident: "Very nerve wrecking experience, give me Wembley and 87,000 any day of the week. Great experience though.
"Should have left it at 'Best of a bad bunch'. Ah well. I may have upset one or two women with an ill conceived metaphor. #imnewtothis."
The debate was held at the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport.