A TORY MP’s suggestion that he would punch a female journalist in the throat has been condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron as “completely unacceptable and in poor taste”.
Michael Fabricant made the remark about left-wing journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown after she clashed with right-wing commentator Rod Liddle on a television news programme.
Over a series of tweets, Mr Fabricant tried to make amends, telling Ms Alibhai-Brown she was “utterly infuriating” but he would not have actually punched her.
But the journalist said he could “stuff” the apology.
Mr Fabricant, 64, then tweeted: “So just for the avoidance of any doubt: I am v sorry for tweet. It was wrong to joke abt punching + I completely withdraw and apologise.”
Despite the apology, Mr Fabricant said he “felt like a star” after Sky News turned up at his home to quiz him about the furore.
“First time I’ve ever been doorstepped,” he added.
In his original tweet, posted early on Thursday, he wrote: “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.”
Downing Street said Mr Fabricant was right to apologise.
Mr Cameron later appeared himself on LBC radio and said: “Let’s be clear, it’s a completely unacceptable thing to say and it’s right that he apologised. But this should never have been said in the first place. ”
Asked whether the MP for Lichfield, in Staffordshire, might face any further repercussions, Mr Cameron said: “Well, I think further action isn’t necessary. Michael Fabricant knows that I don’t want to see this happen again.”
Ms Alibhai-Brown called for Mr Fabricant to be kicked out of the Conservative Party.
She said: “Is this his apology? Well, he can stuff it. He has not apologised. I do not call this an apology.
“This is him trying to get out of a difficult situation and he’s actually making it worse.”
Ms Alibhai-Brown, a Muslim who came to Britain from Uganda in 1972, said she felt like Mr Fabricant was “encouraging” people who have previously threatened her.
“These guys find us unbearable,” she added. “I think they still think Asian women should be their ayahs, their nursemaids, or selling them takeaways.”
Mr Fabricant – recognisable in the Commons for his unusually blond hair – has long been a thorn in the side of the Conservative leadership.
When it emerged that Flight MH370 had gone missing with 239 people on board, he tweeted: “It occurs to me: all our good news on the economy is as submerged and lost as the Malaysian Airlines flight recorder.”
The MP, whose Twitter avatar is a character from figure-skating comedy Blades of Glory, also joked about having a relationship with a llama.
The former economist and broadcaster was sacked as a party vice-chair in April following outspoken criticism of the HS2 rail scheme and the Maria Miller expenses row.