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Clegg orders David Ward to meet Lib Dem Friends of Israel

    The statement was posted on David Ward's website
    The statement was posted on David Ward's website

    The Liberal Democrat party has demanded that Bradford East MP David Ward meet members of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and remove from his website allegations that "the Jews" had failed to properly learn the lessons of the Holocaust.

    More than a month after his outburst about Israel, the Jews and Auschwitz, David Ward has been ordered to "work along with Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and Simon Hughes MP to identify and agree language that will be proportionate and precise in your future interventions in this debate".

    The MP, who sparked controversy with his comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day and has since dug deeper with remarks suggesting "the Jewish community" might have been a more appropriate phrase, met Nick Clegg, Mr Hughes and chief whip Alistair Carmichael on Tuesday evening.

    In the meeting Mr Clegg told the first-term MP, who has a majority of under 400, that his latest comments has been "unacceptable".

    In a letter clarifying what was said in the meeting, Mr Carmichael emphasised that the party had no wish to restrict Mr Ward's right to "express your legitimately and sincerely held views".

    But he said: "[Mr Clegg] was equally clear, however, that the language in which these views are articulated must not be generalised and indiscriminate in its nature. Liberal Democrats believe in fearless criticism where it is justified, but abhor generalised condemnation of a whole people where it is not."

    The MP was told he should attend meetings with LDFI representatives in order to achieve a better understanding of the legitimate concern that your comments has caused within the wider Jewish community".

    Mr Carmichael said that the party's disciplinary process with the MP would be adjourned while this took place and would be reviewed at a later date.

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