The Conservative MP has been criticized for “taking lightly” the rape allegations against a Conservative colleague.
Michael Fabricant appeared to be joking about the unnamed man in his 50s who was arrested on charges of rape and sexual assault offences, as well as abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office.
The Conservative whip has asked the MP, who has been released on bail until a date in mid-June, not to attend Parliament while the police investigation is ongoing.
Ahead of Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday, Fabricant tweeted that he expected the Conservative seats in the House of Commons to be packed as politicians seek to show the public that they are not the MPs who have been told to stay away.
He accompanied the message with a winking face emoji and a link to a news story about the arrest.
The Litchfield MP accused those who criticized his comments as “professional offender takers”.
“I expect a large turnout from Conservative MPs in the PM’s questions today,” he tweeted.
“Not just to show your strong support for Boris!
“BUT also to show that they are NOT the ones Chief Whip told to stay home. I’ll be there!”
Speaking about the tweet later on GB News, Fabricant admitted it was a mistake, saying he liked to “mix serious politics with humor”.
He told Darren McCaffrey, “In hindsight I shouldn’t have, but… I like to mix serious politics with a bit of humor.”
It comes after Welsh Secretary Simon Hart told the BBC: “He’s an idiot, he’s insensitive and he’s trying to downplay a really serious situation.”
“I get desperate when I read things like that.”
Chris Bryant of the Labor Party was also among those who criticized Mr Fabricant, accusing him of showing “callous disregard” for victims.
“Seriously, Michael, delete this now,” MP Rhondda said.
“It shows a callous disregard for the alleged victims, and implies that rape and sexual assault are a laughing matter. Take it down.”
Deputy Labor Leader Angela Rayner said it was “grotesque”, while Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting warned “this is not a joke”.
Mr Fabricant said: “Nobody makes fun of rape or assault. Far from it.
“But those who want to read something in a comment will manage to do so anyway.
“They are professional offense takers.”
The arrest comes amid renewed scrutiny of MPs’ behavior following a series of incidents.
Earlier this month, Imran Ahmad Khan resigned from his Wakefield seat when he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
He was championed by fellow Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who later announced his intention to stand down in the next election.
Neil Parish resigned as MP for Tiverton and Honiton after admitting to viewing pornography twice in the House of Commons last month. A by-election will be held on June 23.
Earlier this year, David Warburton was suspended from the Tory party over allegations of sexual harassment and drug abuse, the Sunday Times reported.
Following reports of sexual misconduct by MPs several years ago, the Independent Complaints and Complaints Scheme (ICGS) was created in Parliament.
More than 55 MPs have reportedly been referred to the watchdog.