CONTROVERSIAL former Liberal Democrat MP David Ward was sacked as a potential parliamentary candidate for his old seat of Bradford East by party leader Tim Farron after pressure from Prime Minister Theresa May.
Reacting to pressure from MPs, Farron said that he believed in politics which were "open, tolerant and united".
He added "David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him."
In 2013, Ward was widely condemned for tweeting that Israel was an "apartheid state" and later stating that "Zionists" were "losing the battle".
In a blog about Holocaust Memorial Day, he caused further offence by equating Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, accusing Jews of "inflicting atrocities on Palestinians".
He said that he was "saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could, within a few years of liberation from the death camps, inflict atrocities on Palestinians".
But Ward subsequently apologised for the "unintended offence", but caused further anger by asking whether he could make the same remarks again using the term "Jewish community" instead of "the Jews".
A year later he was forced to apologise again after suggesting he was prepared to consider firing rockets into Israel from Gaza, and he compounded his problems by praising fellow Bradford MP Naz Shah for antisemitic posts on her Facebook account.
According to Liberal Democrat party sources, local polling had shown that the party had a fairly good chance to retake Bradford East back from Labour.
One senior party source said they would be making a serious effort to win the seat and that Ward's record "could not be ignored".
The source added: "The fact that we have thrown out David Ward shows how seriously Tim takes this and how far he is prepared to go to stamp this stuff out."
Ward, interviewed later, maintained he was not antisemitic and was being badly treated by his party.
He said: "The antisemitic thing is a nonsense. It's a well known tactic.
"How do you avoid conversation or any criticism about Israel? Just say people are antisemitic. I am certainly not antisemitic."
When asked why his leader had axed him, Ward replied: "Just the pressure that they come under, all the parties come under, and it works. The pressure works.
"It's the fear of the electoral damage that can be done by being seen to oppose Israel.
"It's contaminating and infecting our own political system."