Lib Dem leadership hopeful Layla Moran admits slapping boyfriend in row over computer cable

Victoria Ward
Layla Moran - PA

Liberal Democrat leader hopeful Layla Moran has admitted she was arrested and detained by police slapping her ex-boyfriend.

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said she was coming clean after rumours began circulating about the incident, which took place at a party conference in Glasgow.

She said she had slapped the man, identified only as Richard, following a row over a lost computer cable.

The revelation prompted some activists to praise her honesty, describing her as brave and courageous.

But many others demanded that Ms Moran, 36, step down, noting that domestic violence should be condemned, regardless of the circumstances and the gender of the perpetrator.

One supporter wrote online: "Imagine if the genders were switched. Domestic violence is not courageous or inspiring. It is disgusting. Shame."

Philip Davies, the Conservative MP, told The Sun: "I suspect the reaction of some MPs would have been rather different if I had been a male MP admitting domestic violence against a woman.

"These double standards are not acceptable and I trust that the feminists in Parliament who campaign on the issue of domestic violence speak out about this. I am not holding my breath."

Ms Moran made the confession in a lengthy statement posted online, revealing that the victim had given her permission to “share their story”.

"In 2013, Richard and I had a row at the autumn conference in Glasgow that initially began over a lost computer cable,” she said.

"The relationship had come under enormous strain in preceding months and regrettably, it escalated and in the heat of the moment I slapped him because I felt threatened.

"We both recognise it wasn't our finest hour and were, both at the time and continue to be, grateful that the police mediated, and calmed things down."

Ms Moran said both of them were detained at a police station and she was later charged, although the case was dropped when it became apparent “there was no case to answer”.

Colin Sutton, a retired Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector, branded her language: “Classic victim-blaming statement of a domestic abuser.”

The admission comes just weeks after Ms Moran revealed she was considering running for leader of the Liberal Democrats after Vince Cable announced he would be standing down.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "We were aware of the personal nature of the statement issued by Layla, with Richard’s support, and hope that their privacy is respected."

Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.