A former MP with anti-Semitic views, selected by the Liberal Democrats to contest the forthcoming election, has been sacked by party leader Tim Farron.
The dramatic move came just hours after a high-profile backlash over the decision to allow David Ward to run as a candidate for his old seat in Bradford East.
On Wednesday, in a House of Commons response, Theresa May had said: “People will be, I think, rightly disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on anti-Semitism”.
After outgoing Conservative Friends of Israel chair Sir Eric Pickles MP said he was “disgusted” by Ward’s candidacy, May said: “It is important that all parties maintain the strongest possible censure on all forms of intolerance and send that message to our communities.”
But just two hours after the Prime Minister hit out at his “questionable views”, the Lib Dem leader Tim Farron – in an abrupt and spectacular U-turn – announced that he had sacked him.
Farron said: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him.”
— CFoI (@CFoI) April 26, 2017
Mr Ward has been a controversial figure since accusing Jews of “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians” in a 2013 blog in which he compared Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with Israel’s alleged treatment of the Palestinians.
In 2014 he was forced to apologise after suggesting he might be ready to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel. A year later he lost his seat to Labour in the 2015 general election.
But when Mr Farron gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s anti-Semitism inquiry last year, he said the ex-MP had “served his time”.
Replying to Sir Eric’s question, Mrs May said: “People will be, I think, rightly disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on anti-Semitism.
“It is important that all parties maintain the strongest possible censure on all forms of intolerance and send that message to our communities.”
Sources: Jewish News / SkyNews