Lib Dem MP David Ward facing disciplinary action for Gaza tweets
The MP tweeted: ‘the big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes’
A Liberal Democrat MP is facing disciplinary action for saying he would probably fire a rocket into Israel if he lived in Gaza – a year after being temporarily suspended by the party for offensive remarks on the same subject.
The Liberal Democrats said the party “utterly condemns” comments made by David Ward, their MP for Bradford East, after a tweet appeared on his feed saying: “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes.”
He added: “Ich bin ein #palestinian – the West must make up its mind – which side is it on?”
The remarks were immediately condemned by some fellow MPs, including Tory chairman Grant Shapps, who said the remarks were an “incitement to violence” and “completely irresponsible”.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said Ward would be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
“Nick Clegg has been at the forefront of calling for peace in Israel and Gaza,” he said. “We utterly condemn David Ward’s comments, they are not representative of the Liberal Democrats.
“The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue.”
The party is likely to take a particularly dim view of the comments as it comes on top of other ill-judged comments and at a time of heightened violence and tensions in the region.
Ward was previously suspended by the party in July last year after questioning the continuing existence of the state of Israel and refusing to apologise for his remarks.
“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?” he tweeted at the time.
He had the whip withdrawn for two months after a series of rows with the party’s most senior members over his views on Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.
However, the whip was restored by the party automatically in September after the suspension period expired.
The Liberal Democrats have previously been accused of failing to respond quickly to allegations of anti-semitism.
In 2012, the Lib Dem peer Lady Tonge resigned the whip after refusing to apologise for an outspoken attack against Israel.