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 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...