Lord Heseltine said people were “losing (their) minds” if they thought his gaffe during a live television interview on International Women’s Day was something worth worrying about.
The Tory grandee told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he was “chastised” on Sky News when he said Theresa May had a “man-size” job to do as Prime Minister.
The veteran politician, sacked last week from his role as an adviser to the Prime Minister following his rebellion over Brexit, immediately admitted his error about his choice of phrase.
But the 83-year-old told GMB there were plenty of examples of language he used which people might think made him a “funny old fart”.
He said: “I think, if I may say so, I think we are losing our minds if we really think that in the most serious issue facing this country, a slip of an 83-year-old about using a phrase which everybody would have been using a few years ago is simply of anybody’s interest.”
Speaking from his home in Oxfordshire, Lord Heseltine said: “If you’ve lived as long as I do you do tend to get used to these things.
“I’ll give you an example - I don’t use the word ‘gig’.
“You may think: ‘Funny old fart’.
“But what is a gig? To me, it’s a party.
“And ‘party’ has worked perfectly well all my life.”
Lord Heseltine also accused pro-Brexit supporters of naivety over Mrs May’s plans for the country’s future dealings with the European community.
He said: “I have made it absolutely clear that Theresa May should not reveal her hand - that would be naive.
“Of course the people who want her to do that are the Brexiteers because they’re frightened that there will be some sort of compromise and they want to be able to shout loud to stop it happening.
“The fact is their position is naive - it’s naive in two ways.
“First of all they want her to reveal her hand so they can criticise it.
“But secondly - they don’t seem to understand - it’s not what we want, it’s what the Europeans will give us.
“I don’t like saying that ... But we are the ones leaving the club (the EU) and the club will say what the new rules will be.”
The Brexit Bill will return to Parliament today, when it is expected MPs and Lords will pave the way for Mrs May to trigger Article 50 and begin the formal process of leaving the EU.