Under-fire Labor Minister Bill Johnston made a personal late-night apology to a regional shire president who he claimed was “too busy fishing” to meet, when he was actually on leave to be by his sick wife’s side. The Corrective Services Minister yesterday faced calls for his resignation after he made the insulting remark about Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey, who he claimed had shunned efforts to arrange a meeting over a controversial prison. Mr Tracey was on an extended leave of absence to care for his wife who was in Perth for cancer treatment. Cr Tracey revealed not only was the fishing comment false, but there was never an offer to meet in the first place. After hearing Minister Johnston’s comments his Labor colleague, Kimberley MP Divina D’Anna, called Mr Tracey to apologise on Mr Johnston’s behalf. A public apology was later issued by Mr Johnston, which Mr Tracey said was then followed by a personal apology from the Minister later that night. The spat started after a fiery radio interview in which Mr Johnston was pressed on the State Government’s consultation about the location of Broome’s new prison. Mr Johnston was accused of not consulting the Shire of Broome on plans to build it on the outskirts of town. Speaking to the Broome Advertiser on Friday, Cr Tracey said Mr Johnston promised he would look at alternate sites for the prison which had been proposed by the Shire. “It’s good for Broome that they’ll now look at what the community wants,” he said. “I was pretty angry when I first heard what he said. . . It was stupid and untrue, hopefully he learns from it.” Cr Tracey said he wanted to see the best outcome for the Shire of Broome. A spokesperson from Mr Johnston’s office said his statement was made based on inaccurate information provided to him by the Department of Justice.