The Israeli embassy in London sought to head off a diplomatic row, apologising after one of its staff was caught on camera threatening to "take down" a British government minister.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper posted the footage showing the embassy employee telling an undercover reporter from Al-Jazeera that "I want to take down... the Deputy Foreign Minister" (Alan Duncan) - a long-time critic of Israel, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's second-in-command.

Mr Duncan was "doing a lot of problems," he added.

The embassy issued an immediate apology, saying it "rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable".

"The comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly," it added.

Ambassador Mark Regev apologised personally to Mr Duncan on Friday, according to the embassy.

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed they had received an apology, and that it now considered "the matter closed".

The footage was recorded at a restaurant opposite the Israeli embassy in Kensington, west London, during a meeting attended by Maria Strizzolo, senior aide to Conservative Education Minister Robert Halfon.

Ms Strizzolo spoke of her influence in helping Mr Halfon become a minister, prompting the embassy staffer to ask her "can you do the opposite stuff as well?"

However, Ms Strizzolo said Mr Duncan would be "impossible to rebuff" due to having powerful "friends", but then suggested "a little scandal, maybe?"

The embassy employee also called Mr Johnson an "idiot" and mocked "crazy" opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his "weirdo" supporters.

Ms Strizzolo told the newspaper that her conversation with the employee was "tongue-in-cheek and gossipy", adding: "Any suggestion that I ... could exert the type of influence you are suggesting is risible."

She said she knew him "purely socially and as a friend. He is not someone with whom I have ever worked or had any political dealings beyond chatting about politics, as millions of people do, in a social context".

Ms Strizzolo is now understood to have resigned her civil service post.

Labour has demanded an investigation into the extent of Israeli "interference" in British politics.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry called for the government to begin an inquiry into the extent of "improper interference" by the Israeli government.

She said: "The exposure of an Israeli embassy official discussing how to bring down or discredit a government minister and other MPs because of their views on the Middle East is extremely disturbing.

"Improper interference in our democratic politics by other states is unacceptable whichever country is involved.

"It is simply not good enough for the Foreign Office to say the matter is closed. This is a national security issue.

"The embassy official involved should be withdrawn, and the government should launch an immediate inquiry into the extent of this improper interference and demand from the Israeli government that it be brought to an end."