Two Liberal Democrat candidates have been forced to withdraw their candidacy for the UK’s upcoming general election after they were found to be “unfit to represent the party” because of past anti-Semitic comments.
The first to go was Ashuk Ahmed, Liberal Democrat candidate for Luton South, who has left the party following allegations of anti-Semitic posts on social media.
According to a report in Luton Today, the alleged postings on Facebook and Twitter date from 2014 – before the last general election when Mr. Ahmed was the party’s local candidate. They include a series comparing Jews to Nazis, suggestions that Zionists control “half the world” and claims that Labour and the Conservatives are controlled by “Zionist paymasters”.
Mr Ahmed also shared a video made by an extreme anti-Semitic group AshkeNazi, which claims to “expose… the current takeover of the United States by the Jewish Ashkenazi tribe”.
As soon as the posts were made public in an article by the MailOnline the party acted, with a spokesman saying, “Mr Ahmed is no longer a member of the party and will not be a Liberal Democrat candidate in the coming election.”
The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: “Despite the fact that Ahmed had been exposed as an antisemite, the Liberal Democrats still decided to select him as their candidate for the Luton South Constituency in the forthcoming General Election, just as they did in 2015.
“The Party only moved to suspend Ahmed when Campaign Against Antisemitism exposed him.”
Former Bradford East MP David Ward, who held the seat for five years until 2015, has also been banned from standing again in June’s election by leader Tim Farron.
Mr. Ward, who planned to stand and try to regain the seat he lost in the last election – caused controversy in 2013 when he accused “the Jews” of atrocities against Palestinians.
His party membership has been suspended and an independent panel will carry out an investigation after the election, according to the BBC.
The decision came just two hours after Prime Minister’s Questions, in which Theresa May attacked what she called Mr. Ward’s “questionable record on antisemitism”.
LibDem party leader Tim Farron said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him.”
The sidelining of Mr. Ward was welcomed by the Jewish Leadership Council, which called Mr. Ward “an unrepentant serial offender”.
In 2013, Mr. Ward posted a tweet calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said that “Zionists” were “losing the battle”. Mr. Ward refused to apologise at the time and had the party whip withdrawn.
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