Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric on Sunday admitted sexual misconduct and offered his apologies to the Church and the people of Scotland.

A statement released by Cardinal Keith O'Brien read: "I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.

"To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness," he added. "To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologize."