A statement from David Ward:
“I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza.
“I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.
“However, while I defend the right of Israel to exist and defend itself, I will continue to speak out for the rights of the Palestinian people who are facing untold suffering. More must be done by the world community to end this humanitarian crisis and protect the families living in Gaza. I can understand their plight and desperation.
“A cease fire in this conflict is essential. If we are to end the suffering, and establish a safer society for people in Gaza, the first step must be an end to violence on both sides.”
A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said:
“This is a categorical apology from David Ward. In light of this apology, the party and the whips will decide in due course if further disciplinary action should be taken.”
The rules of the Parliamentary Party require a formal meeting between the Chief Whip and David Ward. This will take place in due course.