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Welsh Secretary criticises Tory Michael Fabricant over rape arrest MP tweet

18 May 2022 4 minutes Read
Michael Fabricant and Simon Hart. Pictures by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Secretary has criticised Conservative MP Michael Fabricant over an “insensitive” tweet about the arrest of a Tory colleague on allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Michael Fabricant tweeted that there would be a “strong turnout” of Tories attending Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to prove they are not the unidentified man told to stay away from Parliament.

“I’ll be there!” Mr Fabricant added, followed by the “winking face with tongue” emoji.

But Welsh Secretary Simon Hart criticised Mr Fabricant’s tweet, telling BBC Politics Live: “It’s idiotic, it’s insensitive, and it attempts to make light of a really serious situation.

“I despair when I read stuff like that.”

Michael Fabricant defended the tweet after a dressing down by the Tory whips and a Cabinet minister criticising the “idiotic” remarks for making “light of a really serious situation”, but subsequently deleted the post.

Scotland Yard has bailed the unnamed MP in his 50s pending further investigation into a string of allegations also including indecent assault, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.

Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris urged the MP to stay away from Parliament but has not suspended the whip, meaning the suspect remains a member of the parliamentary party.

Idiotic

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said it was “grotesque”, while shadow health secretary Wes Streeting warned “this isn’t a joke”.

“Delete and stop bringing Parliament into (further) disrepute,” Mr Streeting added.

Chris Bryant, who chairs the Commons Standards Committee, responded: “This shows absolutely shameful disregard for the alleged victims.

“You should take this down immediately.”

Fellow Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said: “One of the grimmest things about working in Westminster is not just the regularity with which allegations of rape and sexual assault come up, but the fact people like Fabricant here trivialise these as a laughing matter or quirky bit of gossip complete with (the) emoji.”

The Conservative Party has refused to name the MP facing allegations of sexual offences committed in London between 2002 and 2009.

There are clear legal issues with identifying the suspect, but keeping him anonymous will cast suspicion over other MPs who are not facing any allegations.

Screen grab from the Twitter feed of @Mike_Fabricant

Mr Fabricant, who has served as the MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire since 1992, had tweeted: “I am expecting a strong turnout of Conservative MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions today.

“Not only to demonstrate their strong support for #Boris (!!). But also to prove they are not the one told by the Chief Whip to stay at home. I’ll be there! (winking face with tongue emoji).”

According to the Emojipedia website, the symbol used is also known as “crazy face” and “often conveys a sense of fun, excitement, wackiness, buffoonery, or joking”.

The Tory whips spoke to Mr Fabricant about his remarks, with Conservative sources branding them “inappropriate”.

Asked by the PA news agency if he stands by the tweet, Mr Fabricant messaged: “In no way was I making light of rape or any other assault.

“They disgust me.

“I was, however, commenting on the speculation as to who the MP might be.”

But he went on to delete the tweet.

It is not the first time in recent weeks that a Conservative MP has faced criticism for their response to a colleague facing allegations of sexual offences.

Crispin Blunt, who since announced he will stand down at the next election, apologised last month for the “significant upset and concern” caused by his defence of fellow Conservative Imran Ahmad Khan following his conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.


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Cathy Hill
Cathy Hill
1 month ago

Remember when we used to say that the country was run by criminals but it was a euphemism?

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
1 month ago

A deeper question for the people of Lichfield is how they managed to elect him. Were they really not paying any attention or was he the joke vote?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

What a nasty and insensitive thing to say, not a thought for the poor victim(s). Shame on Michael Fabricant!

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Williams
Cofid
Cofid
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

With their every utterance, the “toxic masculinity” of the Conservative and Onanist Party becomes more entrenched.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

This is the calibre of Tory MP at Westminster. Michael Fabricant’s constituents must be morons to vote this wig wearing Gerry Anderson puppet Muppet as their MP. 🙄

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago

So we know it’s one of his personal chums or one of his masters then

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

Sorry. Knee-jerk reaction when we the jerk Hart speaks. I’m not used to him being normal human like. Not sure I trust his motivations. Apologies for the insensitivity. Can’t delete the original.

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
1 month ago

There we are then.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Twitter seems to have identified the unidentified MP and he fits the bill too well but who are the other 55 under investigation?
Is there any other occupation anywhere that has one in twelve workers being actively investigated for sex crime?

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