Mike Fabricant Sacked As Tory Vice-Chair Over Maria Miller Tweet

Mike Fabricant, the flamboyant former Tory whip, has been sacked as a vice-chair of the Conservative Party after sending a tweet following the resignation of former Culture Secretary Maria Miller on Wednesday.

The outspoken and colourful MP, who has also been a vocal of the HS2 rail scheme, claimed he was asked to resign but refused. He was then sacked by party chairman Grant Shapps.

The 63-year-old MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire posted a message on the micro-blogging site that said: "Been asked to resign as Vice Chairman, refused, so sacked over HS2 and my views on a recent Cabinet Minister."

Earlier, following news of Miller's resignation, he tweeted: "Well, about time."

Fabricant later tweeted: "Note to self: If ever a minister again, be like Mark Harper. If in trouble, resign quickly & in a dignified manner. Lesson to us all."

Been asked to resign as Vice Chairman, refused, so sacked over HS2 and my views on a recent Cabinet Minister. Still available 4 speeches etc

— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) April 9, 2014

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The MP is set to lead a Tory revolt against the £50 billion HS2 rail scheme later this month, calling for legislation paving the way for the London-Birmingham link to be denied a second reading. Mr Fabricant, who was the Tory vice-chairman for parliamentary campaigning, has launched a Parliamentary bid to wreck the Government's HS2 plans.

His amendment to the HS2 bill calls on the Government to bring forward a cheaper and more environmentally "sympathetic" route. He warns the line as set out in the legislation is "significantly more costly" than it needs to be because of measures to reduce damage to the environment.

He also says it fails to connect to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, lacks public transport to disperse passengers at Euston and does not offer direct connections to existing major mainline train stations. People whose homes are blighted by the route or are subject to compulsory purchase orders are provided with "inadequate" compensation by the Bill, Mr Fabricant's wrecking amendment says.

He also objects to the line as it is is "insensitively routed" through previously unspoiled countryside, which will cause unnecessary damage to wildlife habits, waterways and ancient woodlands, plus it does not allow for construction to start from Manchester and Leeds.

Fabricant received messages of support from other Twitter users, repeating a comment from Brett Rickles saying: "Has @Mike_Fabricant been sacked for tweeting majority public opinion re: Miller and HS2? Shame."

In a reply to one user who claimed to be "stunned by the news" Mr Fabricant said: "I think it was a knee-jerk decision." He added: "Thanks for all the lovely tweets. Look: I am still a Conservative MP and my personality and twitter fingers are undiminished! I ain't dead!"

Fabricant has courted controversy on Twitter, including a recent tweet linking the missing flight MH370 to the Government's message on the economy. He said: "It occurs to me: All our good news on the economy is currently as submerged and lost as the Malaysian Airlines flight recorder......"

The MP also reportedly landed in hot water with the Tory hierarchy after joking about having a relationship with a llama. He tweeted a link to a Times diary story which reported that he was told "No 10 says it has enough problems with the party in getting equal marriage through without you advocating bestiality", adding the comment: "Oh dear. I have told the llama story to one too many ppl. But I couldn't keep a straight face!"

Following his sacking as vice-chair he tweeted: "Now free to speak openly about llamas (in-joke) and other matters."

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