Coalition Rift: Tories Ratchet Up Ward Rocket Row

This one is a kite, but the story is not going away. The Tories have grassed Ward to the old bill for “encouragement of terrorism as defined by Section 1 (2) of the Terrorism Act 2006.” In a letter to Bernard Hogan Howe, Nadhim Zahawi writes:

“I am writing in respect of a number of statements made by Mr David Ward, the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Bradford East, on Twitter on the evening of the 22 July 2014. Mr Ward made a number of comments about the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Tragically the most recent flare up has caused deaths on both sides. However, Mr Ward went on to suggest that if he lived in the region he would wish to contribute to the violence saying he would ‘probably’ ‘fire a rocket’. I attach copies of the Tweets in question (Annex 1).

Freedom of speech is an important right, but it is not an unqualified one. This is especially true for public figures who have the capacity to influence the actions of others. Mr Ward’s tweets would appear to be prima facie evidence that he has committed the offence of encouragement of terrorism as defined by Section 1 (2) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Mr Ward may or may not have intended this statement to encourage others to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel, but regrettably he would appear to at least have been reckless as to whether others would be encouraged to commit such acts.

Of course Mr Ward must apologise for these statements, but this alone may not be enough. Mr Ward has encouraged the use of violence and may have put further lives at risk. I hope that you will begin investigating Mr Ward’s actions as a matter of urgency.”

While the letter is unlikely to come to anything, it’s interesting to see the coalition partners finally putting the boot into each other.



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