A top official in Britain's Labour Party has apologized for saying Irish Republican Army bombings and shootings helped bring about peace in Northern Ireland.

John McDonnell, a veteran left-wing lawmaker, was appointed Labour's Treasury spokesman this week by new party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

McDonnell said late Thursday that he was sorry for saying in 2003 that IRA "bombs and bullets" brought the British government to the negotiating table.

McDonnell said he had been wrong to use those words, and apologized "from the bottom of my heart" for giving offense.

Labour's new leadership marks a sharp left turn for Britain's main opposition party, which had moved to the political center under former leaders including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Opponents say Corbyn and McDonnell hold extreme views that will alienate voters.