Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron sacks MP candidate facing allegations of anti-Semitism

Jack Maidment
David Ward, a former Liberal Democrat MP, who has been sacked as a General Election candidate - PA

ALiberal Democrat candidate facing allegations of anti-Semitism has been sacked and told he is “unfit to represent the party”.

David Ward, a former MP, had been selected to stand for the Lib Dems in his former Bradford East constituency.

But Tim Farron, the party’s leader, sacked Mr Ward just hours after Theresa May criticised the decision to allow him to stand despite his “questionable views on anti-Semitism".

Mr Farron said in a statement: 

Mr Ward sparked accusations of anti-Semitism in 2013 after posting a blog comparing the treatment of Palestinians by "Jews" to the Holocaust.

He was suspended by the Lib Dems later that year for questioning the continued existence of the "apartheid" state of Israel and was also forced to apologise in 2014 after suggesting he might be ready to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel.

Mr Ward won Bradford East in 2010 but was ousted as an MP in 2015.

Countdown to the General Election

Mr Farron later told a Commons inquiry that he regarded some of Mr Ward's comments as anti-Semitic, but said it was appropriate for him to return to the party after "serving his time" on suspension.

Mr Ward’s candidacy was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday and Mrs May said: “People will be, I think, rightly disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on anti-Semitism.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Mr Ward said he was “stunned and somewhat ashamed of my own party" over the decision to sack him.

It comes after Ashuk Ahmed, the party’s candidate in Luton South, was suspended over allegations of anti-Semitism.

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