The pro Palestinian ex-MP David Ward has been sacked as a Liberal Democrat general election candidate by party leader Tim Farron.
Mr Ward, who planned to stand in Bradford East which he lost in the last election, incurred the wrath of the pro Israel lobby in 2013 with several anti-Israel comments.
In 2013, he posted a tweet calling Israel an “apartheid state” and saying that “Zionists” were “losing the battle.” Later, in 2014 he was forced to apologise after suggesting he might be ready to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel.
Mr Ward refused to apologise at the time and had the party whip withdrawn.
But Mr Farron said he was unfit to represent the party, adding: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united.” Speaking during a campaign visit to St Albans before the sacking, Mr Farron said he was “utterly passionate in tackling and fighting anti-Semitism”.
He criticised Mr Ward’s comments, and added: “I’ve been very very clear that we will have absolutely no tolerance – zero tolerance – of anti-Semitic remarks.”
Following his sacking, Ward told the BBC: “Supporters of Israel are using this as a tactic. It’s an attempt to stop supporters of the Palestinians getting into parliament.”
Mr Ward’s removal as a candidate came shortly after Theresa May criticised his selection during Prime Minister’s Questions.
But speaking to BBC News, Mr Ward said: “I am a liberal through and through. How on earth could I be racist or be anti-Semitic? I would defy anybody to find one single derogatory comment I’ve made against a Jew which was not related to something being done in Israel.”
Mr Ward was elected MP for Bradford East in 2010, but lost his seat in 2015 to Labour