An MP who joked on Twitter about punching left-wing journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has accused her of "strange" behaviour after their paths crossed in the House of Commons.

Former Tory vice-chairman Michael Fabricant told his 17,000 Twitter followers he was stopped on a stairway by Ms Alibhai-Brown, who had previously called for him to be kicked out of the Conservative Party.

Ms Alibhai-Brown also tweeted after her encounter with the Lichfield MP at about 7pm last night, saying she had "offered him my throat to punch".

The newspaper columnist tweeted: "Just bumped into @Mike_Fabricant. Offered him my throat to punch. He, taken aback DIDN'T. Offensive and a bloody coward too."

The chance meeting took place as a House of Commons division bell was ringing and is understood to have been witnessed by several other MPs.

In a Twitter comment after the encounter, which he copied to Ms Alibhai-Brown's account, Mr Fabricant wrote: "I smiled benignly at you as you stopped me on the stairs and you said what you said and I thought: How very strange......."

Some MPs and other commentators criticised Mr Fabricant last week after he tweeted that he could never appear on a discussion show with Ms Alibhai-Brown because he "would end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat".

He later offered an apology to Ms Alibhai-Brown, saying he had tweeted something that could not be excused and of which he was deeply embarrassed.

Writing in The Spectator, the MP said: "I immediately apologised as soon as I realised my mistake. In just 140 characters, I appeared to have undone over 20 years of voting record that demonstrated what I believe and how passionately I feel about these issues.

"Of course I do not and have never believed that it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman."