UK & World News
Tory MP's Throat Punch Tweet 'Not A Joke'
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant is under fire for tweeting about "punching" a newspaper columnist "in the throat".
He made the comment about journalist, commentator and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who demanded he apologise - which Mr Fabricant later did - and for Prime Minister David Cameron to take action.
The MP for Lichfield was responding to a heated clash between Alibhai-Brown and magazine columnist Rod Liddle on Channel 4 News on Thursday night.
Mr Fabricant 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."
He also referred to her as "ghastly" in an earlier tweet - and retweeted a post by another account which said she "should be deported".
Alibhai-Brown, a Muslim who came to Britain from Uganda in 1972, said Mr Fabricant's tweet about her "was not a joke" and he was "not fit for the job" as an MP.
Mr Cameron told LBC radio Mr Fabricant's comment was "completely unacceptable", adding that "further action isn't necessary" because the MP had apologised.
Alibhai-Brown told Sky News: "I am a woman, I am not white and I don't take s**t. These people think I should be their cleaner... threatening violence against women is not acceptable."
She said: "Why does he think even if I am infuriating that that calls for him to say that he wants to punch me in the throat?
"For an MP not to understand why that's wrong - he's not fit for the job." She added: "It was not a joke."
Mr Fabricant apologised for his comment in several tweets - including one which he posted directly to the journalist herself - insisting it was not a serious threat of violence.
He said: "Just out of dentist. 1 It appears that some people who don't know me think I actually go round punching 'in the throat'. Not true.
"2. If anyone believes I would seriously threaten someone with violence, I of course withdraw and apologise.
".Sorry @y_alibhai if you actually thought I would punch you. I actually don't do that sort of thing. But you are utterly infuriating! xx
But his apology was rejected by the journalist, who replied: "@Mike_Fabricant the tweet was offensive & your 'apology' useless. Tories like you think people like me should be ayahs or selling you curry."
Sky News approached Mr Fabricant at his constituency home, but the MP said he had just been to see a dentist and was not "going to be saying anything much" as a result, adding: "First time I've ever been door-stepped. I feel like a star."
Gloria De Piero, Labour's shadow minister for women and equalities, described Mr Fabricant's tweet as "utterly appalling" and called on Mr Cameron to "set out what action he will be taking".
It is not the first time a tweet by Mr Fabricant has landed him in trouble. Earlier this year, he was sacked as Tory vice chairman after tweeting "about time" after then culture secretary Maria Miller's resignation.