Yesterday, Mr Percy was widely quoted in the Yorkshire media describing comments by a Conservative colleague, Kenneth Clarke MP, as "utter tripe". Sir Norman immediately called for Mr Percy's resignation.
Mr Percy has since responded to the call with a personal message to Sir Norman on Twitter. Mr Percy said: “My sincere apologies for my comparison between tripe and Clarke. Any damage done to (your) product I will recompense.”
Sir Norman has accepted Mr Percy's apology. Speaking at a meeting of the Leyland Soroptomists last night, Sir Norman said: "Unlike our colleagues across the Pennines, Lancashire folk are gracious and forgiving, so I accept Mr Percy’s fulsome apology wholeheartedly."
For his part, Mr Percy has demanded that Sir Norman either apologise or resign for calling him a 'southern MP'. Sir Norman last night acknowledged that Mr Percy is not a typical southern MP, although he argued that "From where I stand tonight, in strict terms it is true. I am nevertheless happy to apologise for any offence caused". Sir Norman confirmed he would not be resigning from a post he has held since 1989.
In his speech, he pointed to the sterling example set by Conservative Peer, Lord Deben (John Gummer) who rallied to the beef industry during the BSE crisis of 1990, and he issued a challenge to Mr Percy: "We'd like Mr Percy to appear in public for a photo shoot, like Mr Gummer. However, we'll make sure it's a plate of the finest Lancashire tripe and we are not callous so will not require him to appear with any family members."