Israel-Gaza conflict: Liberal Democrat MP David Ward apologises for controversial tweet
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 23 July 2014
David Ward, a Liberal Democrat MP, has been forced to apologise after suggesting that he might be ready to fire rockets into Israel if he lived in Gaza.
After refusing to say sorry, he faced losing the party whip and issued a statement saying his comments had not been intended to support Hamas' rocket attacks. "If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise,” he said.
The Bradford East MP may still be disciplined and will meet Don Foster, the Lib Dem Chief Whip, to discuss his position.
On Tuesday, Mr Ward was accused of inciting violence after he tweeted: "The big question is - if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes."
The Board of Deputies of British Jews urged Nick Clegg to withdraw the party whip from Mr Ward, whose membership was suspended for two months last year following previous outspoken remarks about Israel.
Video: According to UNICEF third of casualties are children
In today's statement Mr Ward said: "I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza. I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise."
While he defended Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, he vowed to continue to speak out for the Palestinian people “facing untold suffering” and said he understood the “plight and desperation” of families in Gaza.
A Lib Dem spokesman said: "This is a categorical apology from David Ward. In light of this apology, the party and the whips will decide in due course if further disciplinary action should be taken."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...