AFTER three days of unrelenting political attacks, Christopher Pyne has finally apologised for sparking ructions in the Turnbull government­.

The Defence Industry Minister had repeatedly refused to withdraw comments he made at a private Liberal soiree on Friday night.

He had boasted about the influence of the Liberal Party's Left faction and pledged gay marriage would be introduced "sooner than everyone thinks" - to the consternation of many party conservatives.

Last night Mr Pyne issued a statement apologising for causing disunity in the Coalition ranks, but did not withdraw his commitment to see same-sex marriage through.

"I'm very sorry that my comments at an event last Friday have caused such a distraction for the government," he said. "I apologise to anyone they have offended.

"My remarks were ill-chosen and unwise and I can see how unhelpful and damaging they have been."

At The Star's Cherry Bar on Friday night Mr Pyne was caught on tape crowing about the elevation of the moderate faction of the Liberal Party but in his apology statement last night, he paid tribute to his conservative colleagues­.

"The truth is, Malcolm Turnbull runs a tight knit, traditional cabinet government that is inclusive of all strands of thought across the party," he said.

"The Liberal Party has long been the crucible of both liberal and conservative thought and values. That is the secret of our success and has only been enhanced in the Turnbull government."

The apology, which senior Liberals said was entirely ­uncharacteristic of Mr Pyne, came as he endured a third day of attacks at the hands of conservatives.

Liberal MPs had threatened not to let up until he was ­either demoted or apologised for his explosive remarks.

"He has not been contrite and has not admitted it was wrong and that the Liberal Party is a broad church," one senior Liberal MP said.

"Had he acknowledged (what he said was wrong) it would have taken the temperature out of things."

Mr Pyne had faced calls by some conservative MPs to step down from his role as Leader of the House but senior conservative cabinet minsters backed him, saying he was an "effective" operator.

"I have an outstanding ministry. All of my ministers have my support. I've got a great team and we're delivering great results for the Australian ­people," Mr Turnbull said yesterday.

News Corp Australia

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