AN Oxford MP has admitted slapping her ex-boyfriend during a row at her party's Autumn Conference in 2013.

Liberal Democrat Layla Moran, who holds the parliamentary seat for Oxford West and Abingdon, made the extraordinary confession on Twitter last night.

UPDATE - Layla Moran's Tory rival speaks out on her confession 

It comes amid intense speculation over who will become the new party leader when incumbent Sir Vince Cable steps down in May.

Speaking on Twitter Layla Moran said that she was coming clean about the domestic violence incident in response to 'rumours' that had circulated in recent weeks.

She said: "I wanted to respond to rumours I've been hearing over the last couple of weeks that have surfaced in relation to a previous relationship of mine.

"In 2013, [we] had a row at the autumn conference in Glasgow that initially began over a lost computer cable.

"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."

She went on to say that she was initially charged but the case was later dropped with no case to answer.

The full tweet is below:

Responding to the confession on social media a number of people appeared to link the post to the looming party leadership contest.

One, John Lubbock, said: "Please stand. I don't think this is an issue.

"Certainly not on the scale of 'being in a government that enabled austerity and led to the loss of 80 per cent of Liberal representation in parliament'."

Another, Matthew Ellis, said: "This is very courageous to share this. It says a lot that you feel you have to.

"More evidence that you would be a fantastic leader of our party."

Others were less effusive with one Twitter user - named BM, asking: "Does the loss of a computer cable deserve excessive anger that resulted on assault and spending time in police station?"

Sharon Dunne said: "Find it incredible that ppl are congratulating & calling this 'tame', many of them women.

"Unless they can show the same understanding when the aggressor is a man, they let us all down. We tell girls 'if he hits you once that is abuse, leave him', no double standard should exist."