Lib Dem MP David Ward faces fresh showdown over 'the Jews' comments

 

A Liberal Democrat MP has been summoned for a fresh showdown with party bosses amid an escalating row over controversial comments he made about atrocities committed by “the Jews”.

The party said "further decisions" would be taken about David Ward after Jewish leaders demanded action following a meeting with Lib Dem chiefs aimed at calming tensions.

The Bradford East MP was censured by chief whip Alistair Carmichael last month, apologised for any "unintended offence" and made a written promise not to repeat the reference.

But the Board of Deputies of British Jews said the apology had "no credibility" as the MP had not removed the offending post from his website and in the light of further remarks.

Jewish News yesterday reported that Mr Ward had asked if it would satisfy critics if he changed the wording to read "the Jewish community", sparking renewed complaints.

Mr Carmichael and Lib Dem chief executives called a meeting yesterday morning with the heads of the board and other bodies including the Holocaust Educational Trust.

A joint statement issued by the groups afterwards said they had been assured that the new comments would be "dealt with as a fresh issue" by the party.

"It was made clear that this will be pursued in the context of Mr Carmichael's commitment that if 'anything of this sort' ever happened again the consequences for Mr Ward 'would escalate significantly' beyond the official censure already imposed," they said.

"During the meeting we repeated our bewilderment that the original statements remain on Ward's website and our view that his prior apology has no credibility."

A party spokesman said the MP was on a visit to the Netherlands with a Commons select committee but would be summoned to the whips' office on his return - thought to be at the weekend.

"We are fully aware of the latest comments," he said.

"David will be once again summoned to the whips' office and will meet again with Alistair Carmichael. Further decisions will be made in due course".

The row first blew up over a posting made by Mr Ward on his website after signing a memorial book to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

He wrote that he was "saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new state of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis".

After initially issuing a strong defence of his words, he subsequently apologised.

Mr Carmichael said the wording was "unacceptable" and censured the MP, who gave an undertaking that he would "not again use the phrase 'the Jews' in this context".

Jewish News yesterday published an email exchange with the MP in which it reported he wrote: "Can you ask the Board of Deputies if they are in agreement that I should replace the words 'the Jews' with 'the Jewish community' - if so, I am perfectly happy to do so."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg earlier said he stood by Mr Ward's apology.

Confronted with the Jewish News claims during his weekly radio phone-in for LBC 97.3, he said he had not seen the fresh claims.

"David Ward has apologised for what he said. It was quite right that he should apologise. What he said was completely out of order and that was made completely clear to him," he said.

"But I was very, very clear at the time that what I thought David Ward said was totally out of order. He apologised.

"I stand by his apology and his apology was right."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before