Nick Clegg Equivocates about David Ward MP's Antisemitic Comment
By Jonathan Hoffman
January 31, 2013
Yesterday Jonathan Arkush (Board of Deputies’ VP and Chair of the Defence Division) said:
We note that David Ward MP has been censured by the Liberal Democrats. However, the Board regards this as wholly inadequate. The whip should have been withdrawn and he should have been warned that he risked being expelled from the party. The Board further notes that Mr Ward’s offensive statement remains on his website, which hardly inspires confidence in the sincerity of his apology.
I called Nick Clegg on LBC this morning (13.58 on the mp3 file) to ask why David Ward MP (Bradford East) has not lost the Whip and why this antisemitic comment is still on his website:
Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am 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 in the West Bank and Gaza.
After Mr Clegg said Ward had been 'given a yellow card' (he has been 'censured') Nick Ferrari asked whether that was enough and whether he should be "suspended for a while".
Mr Clegg responded:
For Jonathan it is clearly not enough. For other people, would you believe they're saying, we've gone too far in reprimanding him, which I personally strongly ...
Then Nick Ferarri asked whether Mr Clegg had had any personal contact with Ward since the antisemitic comment - the response was "no".
1. The comment remains on Ward's website and he remains a LibDem MP
2. Nick Clegg did not feel it was important enough to speak to Ward
3. Nick Clegg is prepared to defend the LibDems' (in)action by saying that 'some people think we've gone too far in reprimanding him'
Of course none of these facts could possibly influence Mr Clegg:
- Ward only has a tiny majority of just 365
- 24.3% of the population of the constituency is Muslim
- in the 2010 election, MPAC UK campaigned heavily for him against the Labour incumbent:
Draw your own conclusions about the willingness of the LibDem leadership to tolerate racist comments against Jews from Party MPs
Excellent pieces in the Times (paywall) by Giles Coren and in the Spectator by Hugo Rifkind:
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