Representatives of the Anglo-Jewish community have raised the question of MP David Ward’s string of comments about Jews during a meeting with Liberal Democrat chief whip Alastair Carmichael.
Mr Carmichael, who last week formally disciplined the Bradford East MP for comparing Israel today with the Nazis during the Holocaust, in comments made on the same day that he signed the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Remembrance, pledged that Mr Ward’s latest oiutburst would be dealt with.
Mr Ward was reported by another newspaper today questioning whether he should have replaced the phrase "the Jews" with "the Jewish community" to make his comments about Israel more acceptable.
“The chief whip has assured us that Mr Ward’s latest comments will be dealt with as a fresh issue,” said communal leaders from the Board of Deputies, the Community Security Trust, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Holocaust Educational Trust in a statement released following the meeting, which also included Liberal Democrat chief executive Tim Gordon.
“It was made clear that this will be pursued in the context of Mr Carmichael’s commitment that if ‘anything of this sort’ ever happened again the consequences for Mr Ward ‘would escalate significantly’ beyond the official censure already imposed,” they said.
Mr Ward was backed by Mr Clegg this morning in a phone-in for LBC. The Liberal Democrat leader said he stood by the MP’s apology, but that ”he was right to apologise because he was wrong.”
Mr Ward, who was elected in 2010 with a majority of less than 400, showed no signs of regret today, tweeting: “Question is - how do we seriously raise issue of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel? Are these words acceptable to all?”