London (CNN)British Cabinet minister Amber Rudd has apologized for calling opposition lawmaker Diane Abbott "a colored woman" in a radio interview.
British lawmaker sorry for 'colored' comment about opposition MP
Abbott, the first black female MP to be elected to Britain's House of Commons, criticized Rudd for an "outdated, offensive and revealing choice of words."
Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary and one of the most senior figures in Prime Minister Theresa May's government, was discussing online abuse received by MPs on BBC Radio 2.
Asked if abuse was worse for women, Rudd said: "It definitely is worse if you're a woman, and it's worst of all if you're a colored woman. I know Diane Abbott gets a huge amount of abuse."
Following a swift social media backlash, Rudd took to Twitter to apologize.
"Mortified at my clumsy language and sorry to @HackneyAbbott. My point stands: that no one should suffer abuse because of their race or gender," Rudd wrote.
Opposition Labour MP Danielle Rowley wrote that Rudd had undermined "an important point about online abuse" by using the term, adding: "She clearly gets her language from the same bygone era as her abhorrent welfare policies."
"Amber Rudd should know better," fellow Labour MP Naz Shah added.
Several female MPs have described sexist and violent abuse they have received online.
"I block dozens and dozens of examples of online abuse every day," Abbott wrote on Twitter last year.