Ward removes 'the Jews' statement as Liberal Democrats pressed for further action

By Jennifer Lipman, March 1, 2013
David Ward

David Ward

Bradford East MP has finally removed a statement accusing "the Jews" of failing to learn the lessons of Auschwitz from his website.

The Liberal Democrat MP first posted the statement more than a month ago, just days before Holocaust Memorial Day, provoking widespread condemnation.

But despite being summoned to meet the Liberal Democrat chief whip, Alistair Carmichael, and other party officials on more than one occasion, the statement had remained available for all to see.

Although, according to Mr Carmichael, Mr Ward pledged to remove the statement from his website in a meeting on Tuesday evening, two days later it was still up.

At the same meeting Mr Ward had been ordered by Nick Clegg to meet members of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel in lieu of further disciplinary action.

But noting that Mr Ward had not kept to his undertaking, LDFI chair Gavin Stollar wrote to Nick Clegg on Thursday afternoon referring the matter back "with a strong recommendation of further disciplinary action".

Mr Stollar said the failure to comply with what the party had demanded demonstrated "in no uncertain terms David Ward's genuine views despite, I know, your best efforts to explain why the language and timing of his statement were so offensive and repugnant".

The chief whip has not yet clarified what, if any, the party's response will be. But Mr Ward told a local newspaper that he disagreed with Mr Carmichael's version of what was agreed in Tuesday's meeting.

"What has been said does not reflect what I believe was decided" he told the Telegraph and Argus. "And, as someone who has run race awareness classes, I find the idea that I have been sent on some sort of correctionary course to be patronising and quite offensive."

Last updated: 11:45am, March 1 2013