Fiona Bruce has stepped back as an ambassador of domestic abuse charity Refuge following claims she had trivialised domestic violence during a discussion about Stanley Johnson on Question Time.
The presenter of the BBC politics show faced a social media backlash after intervening when the father of former prime minister Boris Johnson was discussed on Thursday night.
In a statement given to the PA news agency, Bruce said that she was “required to legally contextualise” a response about Mr Johnson and the words are not an expression of her own opinions and she would never minimise domestic abuse.
The 58-year-old former newsreader added: “I know survivors of domestic abuse have been distressed by what I was required to say on-air. For that, I am deeply sorry.
“I cannot change what I was required to say, but I can apologise for the very real impact that I can see it has had.
“I have been a passionate advocate and campaigner for all survivors of domestic abuse, and have used my privileged position as a woman in the public eye to bring this issue to the fore, notably in my work for over 25 years with Refuge.
“But following the events of last week, I have faced a social media storm, much of which mischaracterised what I said and took the form of personal abuse directed at me.
“The only people that matter in all this are the survivors, they are my priority.”
She also said she did not want the issue to create a “distraction” for Refuge and it has been a “hard decision” to pause her work with the charity as she feels “so strongly” about tackling domestic abuse.
The Antiques Roadshow presenter added: “I will continue to be an active supporter, albeit from the sidelines for now.”