Staffordshire MP Michael Fabricant has apologised after he talked about punching a prominent female journalist in the throat.

A statement issued by the Conservative Party called the remarks “unacceptable” and warned that Mr Fabricant must apologise.

Mr Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield, delivered the shocking comments on Twitter, where he has 17,000 followers.

It followed a heated television debate on Channel 4 News between left-wing journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Rod Liddle, a former BBC producer who writes for the right-wing Spectator magazine. They were discussing the Government’s response to claims extremists had attempted to take over Birmingham schools.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant's tweet about journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant's tweet about journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Using Mrs Alibhai-Brown’s Twitter name, y_alibhai, 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.”

The comment provoked an immediate reaction on Twitter, with many users demanding the MP apologise.

But he issued what might be seen as a half-hearted apology, saying: “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”

He later added: “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.”

Mrs Alibhai-Brown responded on Twitter - saying: "The tweet was offensive & your 'apology' useless. Tories like you think people like me should be ayahs or selling you curry". An ayah was a nursemaid or nanny employed in India during the days of the British Empire.

She told the BBC that the Conservative Party should withdraw the whip from Mr Fabricant, effectively expelling him from the Parliamentary party.

A Conservative spokesman said: “Mr Fabricant’s comments were completely unacceptable, in poor taste and he should immediately apologise.”

Chris Worsey, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate in the Lichfield seat, said: “I condemn Mr Fabricant’s comments. He appears to be advocating violence towards women.

“He should clarify his comments and he should apologise immediately. The people of Lichfield deserve better from their MP.”

It’s not the first time Mr Fabricant has got in trouble over his use of Twitter. He was sacked as Conservative vice-chairman after criticising former Culture Secretary Maria Miller - saying it was “about time” after she resigned in April - as well as joking that he was having an affair with a llama.

Bizarrely, it’s not the first time Mrs Alibhai-Brown, one of Britain’s most prominent Muslim journalists, has been the subject of bad taste jokes on Twitter either.

Gareth Compton, a Conservative councillor in Birmingham, was suspended from the Conservative Party after Tweeting in 2010: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”

He was arrested over the remark but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case without taking action. Mr Compton apologised and stood down from the council.