A councillor has said he “regrets” making sexist remarks on his Facebook page.

UKIP councillor Paul Richardson, who represents Little Lever, sparked controversy when he wrote: “Cameron promotes more women to the Cabinet. Well, they can take it in turns to make the tea — only joking!”

His comments split UKIP members, as Bolton branch chairman Joan Johnson called on Cllr Richardson to say sorry, while the party’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall said “people need to take a joke”.

Cllr Richardson had refused to apologise — telling The Bolton News it was “tough” if Ms Johnson was offended.

In an official statement following a UKIP meeting he said: “If I have unintentionally caused offence to any member of the general public, then I regret it. And this includes any UKIP members and voters.”

Ms Johnson said she accepted his statement and hoped “we can move on from this.”

She added: “However, I am surprised at the comments of the two Labour MP’s quoted in The Bolton News’ article — when one considers that one of them is in favour of all-women shortlists and the other is in favour of all-black shortlists.

“Perhaps they should concentrate their efforts on the real victimisation of women rather than turning their fire on UKIP Bolton which has 50/50 representation on Bolton Council and whose committee is 80 per cent female — all achieved through merit and not quotas or shortlists.”

Cllr Richardson was elected to the council in May, alongside Cllr Diane Parkinson, who represents Hulton. They were the first UKIP councillors in Greater Manchester.

MP Yasmin Qureshi, who represents Bolton South East, said Ms Johnson had her facts wrong.

She added: “I have never actually asked for an all-black shortlist, and I was selected to run for MP from an open shortlist. Maybe she should get her facts right.

“We all work very hard to improve equality, and as a woman who had a successful career as a barrister and in the UN before becoming an MP, I don’t need to be lectured on the issue.”

Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West, welcomed Cllr Richardson’s statement.

She added: “What we all need to be doing is fighting against the oppression of any groups of people and equality for all.

"His comments perpetuated the way in which women have been seen in society, and as politicians we need to work extremely hard to make sure that nobody faces discrimination.”