In the least surprising news of the summer, the LibDems have cleared David Ward of bringing his party into disrepute after he said he would fire rockets at Israeli civilians were he a Palestinian. Impotent Chief Whip Don Foster bleats that he will take no action:
“David has subsequently repeated his apology and placed it and his explanation on his website.
In light of that apology, the assurance by David Ward that he would do all he could to ensure comments he made would be in a form that would be difficult to misinterpret, and that he will continue – in relation to the Israeli//Palestinian situation – to condemn violence on both sides and support moves for a cease fire, I do not intend to take further action in relation to the tweet.
I am conscious that this decision will not satisfy some people. To them I would say, at a time of considerable international unease in the Middle East, comments have been made by politicians from all parties that have been unwelcome by some or other section of society.
The question I have had to answer is not, did the comments by David Ward cause offence to some people (within the party or outside), but did they bring the party into disrepute?
David accepts that his tweet did cause offence to some people. He recognises that the use of Twitter as a form of communication can lead to misinterpretation and accepts the need for greater care in the future. However, I do not believe it was in any way anti-Semitic or motivated by anti-Semitic intentions and I do not believe his tweet brought the party into disrepute.
I believe that his statement including an apology on 23rd July should draw a line under this matter.”
It goes without saying that Ward was not “misinterpreted” as the LibDems are claiming, even people within his own party were calling for him to be booted out. The line that politicians from all parties have made similar comments during this conflict is patently untrue. The same LibDems who will stop Britain from arming Israel if Hamas strikes again have backed their MP who expressed sympathy for Hamas rocket attacks…