Michael Fabricant says his recent departure as Tory vice chairman all goes back to a joke designed to highlight his pro-gay credentials, which failed to amuse David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby.
The Lichfield MP was sacked as a vice chairman of the Conservative Party last week hours after welcoming Maria Miller’s resignation as Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.
He tweeted: “Maria Miller has resigned. Well, about time.”
Two days before, Mr Fabricant announced he would oppose the £50bn HS2 Birmingham-to-London rail line.
On Wednesday Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps said: “Michael Fabricant was putting some legislation up which went directly contrary with HS2 so he and I had a chat last night and accepted it would be better if he stood down.”
But in an interview with The Independent, Mr Fabricant claims he was on his marching orders as vice chairman ever since David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby gave him a stern warning for a joke about having a relationship with a llama.
“A friend of mine is Matthew Parris (the newspaper columnist) who breeds llamas,” he said. “And Matt had a llama called Darren.”
Mr Fabricant continued: “Unfortunately Darren took a shine when he reached puberty to his auntie Vera … so there was a real concern that they would end up with a llama with two heads as a result of an incestuous relationship.
“So I said I would take Darren off Matt’s hands and (as a result) had a very nice picture of him.”
Mr Fabricant, who voted in favour of same-sex marriage last year, tweeted a photo of him and the llama in a Twitter discussion about homophobia in Russia.
He said: “Now, when the Sochi Games started I did a few tweets pointing out that Russia had a very crude and outdated legal system in its attitude to gays. And someone tweeted at me asking ‘are you gay or are you just pretending to be?’
“And I thought well, I could ignore this, but then again what the heck and I had this picture of Darren. So I tweeted: ‘What I can reveal is that I’m having an affair with a llama. But I won’t say if it’s a boy llama or a girl llama.’”
That’s when then the trouble started. Without directly naming Lynton Crosby the MP said: “Well, it then turns out that a certain individual who is a strategist contracted to the Conservative Party decided that this was outrageous. He spoke to David Cameron, told him that after the party had almost torn itself apart over gay marriage me – a vice chairman – advocating bestial marriage was a step too far.
“I think David Cameron and others found it hard to keep a straight face. But for a quiet life it was decided that I would be told ‘please don’t preach bestiality any more on Twitter’.”
Mr Fabricant believes this incident – indirectly led to his sacking over the Maria Miller tweets.