David Ward has again insisted he has done nothing wrong – hours after being suspended by Nick Clegg for his latest explosive comments about Israel.
The Bradford East MP came out fighting after the Liberal Democrat leadership dramatically withdrew the party whip, following weeks of tension.
Mr Clegg acted after Mr Ward sent a tweet reading “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?”
The Bradford East MP was summoned to a meeting with his leader, chief whip Alistair Carmichael and deputy leader Simon Hughes, at Westminster. In a stern letter, Mr Carmichael said the tweet meant the MP had broken an undertaking to use language about Israel that was “proportionate and precise”.
He wrote: “We were in unanimous agreement that questioning the continued existence of the State of Israel fails the test of language that is “proportionate and precise”.”
The punishment is suspension from the party until September 13, although the Commons broke up yesterday for the summer and does not return until September 2. But Mr Ward insisted he had not questioned whether Israel should exist, but stated his belief that it could not survive in its current “apartheid” form.