Former Lib Dem MP accused of anti-Semitism to contest Bradford East

A Lib Dem councillor who was temporarily suspended from the party over allegations of anti-Semitism has been chosen to re-contest his former Parliamentary seat in Bradford East.

David Ward
David Ward

David Ward had the party Whip removed in 2013 after making a series of critical comments about Israel, including a reference to the Middle Eastern nation as an "apartheid state".

However, he has now been chosen to run against the incumbent Labour MP Imran Hussain, who ousted Mr Ward in 2015.

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The local party describes Ward as a "hard working campaigner" who has championed issues such as fuel poverty, community cohesion and school funding.

Councillor Ward became embroiled in a row over anti-semitism in 2013 after using the word “genocide” to refer Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in a message issued on Holocaust Memorial Day.

He also made a series of other comments condemning "Zionism" and asking "how long... the apartheid State of Israel [can] last".

This prompted accusations of anti-Semitism and led to Mr Ward being suspended from the party for two months.

The party stated at the time that he had failed to use “proportionate and precise” language when referring to Israeli policies, which risked "[bringing] the party into disrepute".

Speaking in 2015, the then-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg described his comments as "crass and insensitive".

In a recent evidence session for the Home Affairs Committee, Tim Farron denounced Ward's views as "utterly provocative and offensive".

Ward lost his seat to Mr Hussain in 2015, with the Labour candidate securing a 7,084 majority.

He currently represents the ward of Bolton and Undercliffe on Bradford District Council.