Lib Dems suspend David Ward as MP over Israel tweet
By Rowena Mason
The party suspended the whip from Mr Ward until mid-September after he “questioned the continuing existence of Israel”.
Mr Ward has previously got into hot water in January when he accused “the Jews” of inflicting atrocities on Palestinians and linking this to the Holocaust.
These remarks were condemned by the Liberal Democrats and Mr Ward apologised.
However, the party’s leadership decided to act after a new tweet saying: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the apartheid State of Israel last?”
In a formal letter, Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat chief whip, said the Bradford East MP had failed to live up to his promise to use “proportionate and precise” language.
“It is also immensely frustrating for us to find ourselves constantly responding to questions about disproportionate and imprecise language from you,” the letter said.
“These interventions cause considerable offence rather than addressing questions of political substance about the plight of the Palestinian people and the right of Israel’s citizens to live a life free of violence.
“It is extraordinarily difficult to gain traction in that debate at an effective political level if the expression of our concerns is undermined by the way your language misrepresents the view of our party.”
The decision to suspend Mr Ward for two months comes just before the summer recess, meaning he will not miss many votes. The House of Commons rises today and will only have two sitting weeks in September before the suspension expires on September 14.
Special Thanks to The Telegraph
Rowena Mason is Political correspondent at The Daily and Sunday Telegraph. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @rowenamason .
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