By politics.co.uk staff
Gordon Brown has paid a "heavy price" for the 'bigotgate' scandal, he has admitted.
The prime minister had said he was a "penitent sinner" immediately after calling Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy a "bigot" while his microphone was still switched on.
Now, in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, Mr Brown said he had "personally paid this heavy price for a mistake that I made".
He emailed Labour activists with an apology on Wednesday evening as the perception grew Labour's campaign has been hindered, not helped, by the party's leader.
"Sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment, sometimes you pay a very heavy price for those things," Mr Brown said.
"Sometimes you say things you greatly regret. And I have paid a very high price for it."
Asked exactly what he misunderstood about Mrs Duffy's coments in an interview with Jeremy Paxman on Friday night, Mr Brown said he thought she was calling for the expulsion of all foreign students.
The prime minister, who survived three years of leadership plots during a turbulent period in No 10, underlined his resilience once again as he restated his desire to keep going until polling day.
"I'm fighting to the last second of this election," he added.
"You've got to understand I'm a fighter. I have had to fight for everything I've got."