Scottish Daily Mail

MP apologises for ‘joking’ that he’d hit woman writer

- By John Stevens Political Reporter

A CONSERVATI­VE MP has been forced to apologise after he said he would punch a female journalist in the throat and suggested she should be deported.

Michael Fabricant, the former Tory vice chairman, wrote on Twitter that he could never have a debate with commentato­r Yasmin Alibhai-Brown as he would violently lose his temper.

He tweeted: ‘ I could never appear on a discussion prog with @y-alibhai I would either end up with a brain haemorrhag­e or by punching her in the throat.’

The comment instantly sparked widespread anger and he was given a stern warning by party whips who ordered him to make a full apology.

But the flamboyant backbenche­r appeared to enjoy the attention, telling news crews who turned up at his home after the incident that he ‘felt like a star’. Mrs Alibhai-Brown, who writes for the Daily Mail, said the MP could ‘ stuff ’ his apology, which was ‘actually making it worse’.

She called for him to be kicked out of the Conservati­ve Party if he failed to issue a ‘proper’ statement of remorse.

‘I think they should withdraw the whip or get him to issue a proper statement,’ she said, adding: ‘I don’t know if you have seen these tweets but if a child did this we would never accept these apologies. He’s not a child. Why is he doing this?’

Mrs Alibhai-Brown, a Muslim who came to Britain from Uganda in 1972, added that she felt as if Mr Fabricant was ‘encouragin­g’ people who have previously threatened violence against her.

She said: ‘These guys find us unbearable. I think they still think Asian women should be their ayahs, t heir nursemaids, or selli ng takeaways.’

Mr Fabricant wrote the controvers­ial message after watching Mrs Alibhai-Brown clash with journalist Rod Liddle on Channel 4 News.

During a discussion about Islam and how immigratio­n has changed Britain, Mrs Alibhai-Brown told Mr Liddle: ‘I have no words to express how much I loathe you and I feel quite proud that I am able to tell you that.’

After Mr Fabricant published his message, he went on to re-tweet a post written by another user which read: ‘She disgusts me. Should be deported.’

Mr Fabricant then attempted to make amends, explaining in a series of tweets that Mrs Alibhai-Brown was ‘utterly infuriatin­g’ but he would not have actually punched her.

He wrote: ‘So just for the avoidance of any doubt, I am very sorry for the tweet. It was wrong to joke about punching and I completely withdraw it and apologise.’

David Cameron yesterday condemned the tweets as ‘completely

‘Completely unacceptab­le’

unacceptab­le’ but ruled out withdrawin­g the whip from the MP.

MP Gloria De Piero, Labour’s women and equalities spokesman, said the comments were ‘utterly appalling’ and it was ‘unacceptab­le that views like this persist in the Conservati­ve Party’.

But Andrew Allison, from the Freedom Associatio­n, said: ‘Everyone knows, or at least should know, that it was a figure of speech. Michael Fabricant finds her frustratin­g and doesn’t particular­ly like her views. He’s not advocating thumping her.’

Mr Fabricant, who is a former whip, was sacked as a party vice chairman in April after he tweeted ‘about time’ when Maria Miller stepped down as Culture Secretary following her expenses row.

She seemed to enjoy getting her own back yesterday, tweeting a picture with the text: ‘Think B4 U Type.’

Mr Fabricant has built up a loyal following on Twitter, where he has become known for courting controvers­y. When it emerged that Flight MH370 had gone missing, he tweeted: ‘All our good news on the economy is currently as submerged and lost as the Malaysian Airlines flight recorder.’

He also reportedly landed in hot water with the Tory hierarchy after joking about having a relationsh­ip with a llama.

Since his sacking as party vice chairman, Mr Fabricant has refused to tone down his Twitter account, posting: ‘Look, I am still a Conservati­ve MP and my personalit­y and Twitter fingers are undiminish­ed! I ain’t dead!’

 ??  ?? Twitter row: MP Michael Fabricant and writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Twitter row: MP Michael Fabricant and writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
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