A NORTH-East MP who drew criticism after saying new Conservative female ministers' choice of clothes "really is the most interesting thing about them" as she backed a newspaper's focus on what they wore on reshuffle day has apologised.

A Daily Mail spread describing the women promoted in the reshuffle as being on the "Downing Street catwalk" and dissecting their outfits sparked protests.

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman suggested it was the only coverage the newly-appointed members of the Government deserved.

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"Mail's page on Tory women was fair: all are puppets who'll change nothing and their appearance really is most interesting thing about them," she posted on Twitter - sparking a mostly hostile reaction from other users.

Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary, was described by the newspaper as looking "bright and sensible but a little bit too eighties air hostess" while Employment Minister Esther McVey was a "thigh-flashing vision in grey check by Vivienne Westwood".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg poked fun at the media focus on fashion, posting a photo of himself wearing a suit, shirt and trademark Liberal Democrat yellow tie and joking that he hoped he did not look "too 80s cabin attendant".

Newly-appointed Education Secretary Nicky Morgan - who was among those featured in the fashion spread - called on Opposition leader Ed Miliband to act.

"Disappointing words from shadow minister Helen Goodman," she posted.

"Will Ed Miliband condemn these appalling comments?"

Three hours ago Ms Goodman said the comment had been meant as a joke.

"I'm very sorry my last tweet offended some people. I intended it as a light-hearted remark," she said.

However, she went further later in the afternoon as the row escalated.

"I was wrong in what I tweeted about Tory women ministers and I apologise to them unreservedly," she wrote.