Alan Carr has apologised after his dedication of a British Comedy award to the mother of Shannon Matthews was branded "sick" by a government minister.

Carr told journalists on Saturday that he was dedicating his best comedy entertainment personality award to Karen Matthews, who along with Michael Donovan has been convicted of a fake kidnap plot to claim £50,000 worth of reward money.

Junior minister Shahid Malik, who counts both Carr and Matthews as constituents, said Carr had "really let himself down".

"I think most people think it to be both sick and insensitive and people will be disgusted with him at a time when many people are looking very closely at the comic/comedian profession anyway," Mr Malik said.

"This isn't a helpful contribution either to the sad case of Shannon Matthews, where we've only just got a conviction, and Michael Donovan and Karen Matthews haven't even been sentenced yet."

Speaking on Saturday after winning his award for Friday Night Project and Sunday Night Project, Carr, 32, said Matthews would be a "dream guest" for his Celebrity Ding Dong show.

"I think she's a gay icon. People like a bit of rough don't they?

"I must be obsessed with her actually if you look at my Google searches. So I should dedicate this award to her."

The comedian later apologised, releasing a statement that said: "I realise what I said was insensitive and I am very sorry for any offence caused."

08/12/2008 10:04:27