David Ward, former Liberal Democrat MP who has been accused of antisemitic remarks, has been sacked as a general election candidate by party leader Tim Farron, after condemnation by CFI Parliamentary Chairman Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP and Prime Minister Theresa May at PMQs today.
Mr Ward had intended to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in Bradford East, where he lost his seat at the 2015 election.
During PMQs today, Sir Eric asked Prime Minister Theresa May, “Does she share my disgust that a former Member of this House, criticised by the Home Affairs Select Committee for his antisemitic utterances, is now the official candidate in Bradford East for the Liberal Democrats?”
Sir Eric also praised the Prime Minister for showing “considerable leadership in adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism”. He asked: “does she believe it is the duty of all party leaders in this House not just to play lip service to it but to do something about it?”
Prime Minister May said: “People will be rightly disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats readopt a candidate with a questionable record on antisemitism. It is important that all parties maintain the strongest possible censure on all forms of intolerance and sends that message to our communities”.
She additionally paid tribute to “chum” Sir Eric for “all the service that he has given”, and his “relentless drive to stamp out antisemitism and intolerance in all its forms”.
Shortly after PMQs, Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron said he would be sacking Mr Ward: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him”.
A disciplinary hearing will take place after the election in June. Mr Ward, a Liberal Democrats councillor in Bradford, had earlier been condemned by politicians and Jewish groups after it was revealed he had been selected in the constituency.
He was briefly stripped of the party whip in 2013 after using his blog to equate Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Ward had written: “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”.
Following the terror attack in Westminster, Mr Ward posted on his Twitter account: “Boil it down- all terrorist attacks in UK stem from our foreign policy”.
Click here to watch the full exchange between Sir Eric and Prime Minister May in PMQs.