A Telegraph cartoonist suspended after saying an Oxford doctor deserved to be abused for wearing a face mask has apologised.

Bob Moran has said he was sorry after encouraging his followers to attack palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke.

In a letter posted to Twitter on Thursday, he wrote: "I regret any distress caused by my comments directed at Dr Rachel Clarke, posted on September 28.

"It was a mistake to send a Tweet suggesting that she deserved the verbal abuse and I am sorry if she received any as a result."

He said he had a lack of faith in the NHS due to personal reasons involving his wife and children but acknowledged he may have taken it "too far".

It comes after he previously wrote that Dr Clarke "deserves to be verbally abused in public for the rest of her worthless existence".

The British Medical Association described the comments as "appalling" and "unacceptable".

The row came about after Dr Clarke described being verbally abused on public transport for wearing a mask.

The NHS doctor, who lives and works in the city, has become a well-known medical voice throughout the pandemic.

Responding to Mr Moran's apology today, she said that while she feels deeply sympathetic for Mr Moran personal circumstances, she condemns his encouragement to attack and abuse others.

She wrote that she could not accept his "unfounded, misplaced hostility towards a medical profession that is saving lives under extraordinary pressure”.

Cartoonist Bob Moran has apologised to Dr Rachel Clarke

Cartoonist Bob Moran has apologised to Dr Rachel Clarke