David Ward (politician)

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David Ward
Mr David Ward MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Bradford East
In office
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Imran Hussain
Majority 365 (0.9%)
Personal details
Born (1953-06-24) 24 June 1953 (age 62)
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats[1]
Spouse(s) Jackie
Children 2 sons
Occupation Politician
Website http://davidward.org.uk/

David Ward (born 24 June 1953) is a British Liberal Democrat politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford East from 2010[2] to 2015. He was elected as MP at the 2010 general election after being a councillor for Idle and Thackley ward in Bradford for 26 years.[citation needed]

In July 2013 he was suspended from the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary party until September 2013 after questioning the continuing existence of the state of Israel and refusing to apologise for his remarks.[1][3][4]

At the 2015 general election, Ward was defeated by the Labour Party candidate Imran Hussain.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Lincoln,[6] he attended Boston Grammar School in Boston, Lincolnshire and then qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in 1976.[7] He attended the University of Bradford Management Centre to complete a MBA and a MPhil by research.[7][8][9]

He then started working at Leeds Polytechnic (later to become Leeds Metropolitan University) from 1985 for the following 18 years as a Principal Lecturer in finance and strategic management and as a Business Development Manager in charge of External Income Generation.[10] Whilst at the University he travelled to Jamaica and Pakistan to develop links between the University and local colleges.[11] In 1996 he obtained a MSc from the University of Leicester.[7][12]

In July 2004 he was seconded from Leeds Metropolitan University to work at Bradford City Football Club on a full-time basis[10] to help the club to build its link within the local community and to engage with the predominantly Pakistani-Bangladeshi community that surrounds the club in Manningham.[13][14] It is now host to a positive lifestyle centre, which has run programmes for more than 11,000 school children in the past seven years. There is also the football club in the community scheme, which works with 130 of Bradford’s schools.[15] On 5 May 2012 the football museum was closed down[16] and work had begun to turn the museum into a free school to be run by the One in a Million charity[17] but a week before the start of the school term in September the funding was pulled for the school.[18][19][20] David Ward has called the move to pull the funding for the school as being "callous, cruel and quite stupid...and incredibly unfair on the parents and children and One in a Million."[21][22]

In 2006 he worked with others to organise the first ever community day for the Manningham area and his work at the club was acknowledged later that year when Leeds Metropolitan University won the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for "Outstanding contribution to the local community".[23]

The charity that David Ward set up focused mainly on anti-racist interventions and community cohesion events [23] and he continues to support organisations such as the Sports Campaign Against Racism (SCAR).[24] In 2009 he visited South Africa on a British Council 'Peace and Reconciliation' programme.[11]

He was elected as Bradford Metropolitan District Councillor on for the Idle and Thackley ward in 1984 and served for 26 years until elected to Parliament in 2010.[25][26][27][28] His specialist area was education and he was a Governor for 30 years at various Special, Primary and Secondary Schools [29][30][31][32] and was the Portfolio holder for Education for 4 years.[33] Whilst holding this post he also visited Kashmir with a Primary school and Secondary school headteacher to try to forge links with local schools.[34]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Ward was the Liberal Democrat candidate at the Bradford North by-election in 1990, and after his defeat he stood again in Bradford North at the general elections in 1992, 2001 and 2005.[35]

In 2005, he came second, 3,500 votes behind the sitting Labour Party MP Terry Rooney. Bradford North was abolished in boundary changes for the general election in May 2010, when he won the new Bradford East seat with a majority of 365 votes over Rooney.

Ward was a member of the influential Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee from June 2010 to June 2012 when he became a member of the Education Select Committee.[36]


In May 2014, Ward was awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Honouree for the Bradford Cares campaign to fight against proposed reforms on who receives paid care and support.[37]


Comments on the Holocaust[edit]

On 25 January 2013 the Liberal Democrats reprimanded Ward for his "use of language" in a statement about Israel's treatment of Palestinians which he put on his blog the same day that he signed a memorial book in the British House of Commons marking Holocaust Memorial Day. He wrote there that he honoured "those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust" but also commented: "Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."[38][39]

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "Mr Ward has deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust, causing deep pain and offence – these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics". Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience."[38] On Twitter, National Union of Students education officer Rachel Wenstone accused him of "casual antisemitism" and Ian Austin, a Labour Member of Parliament, accused him of "racism".[40]

When asked if he was not accusing Jews, rather than the Israeli state, of persecuting Palestinians, he replied: "I'm accusing the Jews who did it, so if you're a Jew and you did not do it I'm not accusing you. I'm saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons."[40] In an updated blog entry he stated he had "never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused" and stated that he had been "trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust."[41][42]

Comments on Israel[edit]

After tweeting on his Twitter page on 13 July 2013: "Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the apartheid State of Israel last?" and refusing to apologise for questioning Israel's right to exist, Ward was suspended from the Liberal Democrats parliamentary party for three months.[3] In a letter to Ward, the Liberal Democrats' chief whip Alistair Carmichael rebuked him for failing to keep a previous promise to use "proportionate and precise" language when commenting on Israel.[43]

The Board of Deputies of British Jews described the decision to take away Ward's party whip as "too little, too late" and "an empty gesture" given that for most of the period of his suspension, Parliament would be in recess.[43] Ward criticised the decision to suspend him, saying that his views are widely shared.[43]

Comments on the Board of Deputies[edit]

In November 2013, after Ward had said that it is "a shame there isn’t a powerful, well-funded Board of Deputies for Roma", The Jewish Chronicle described his comments as "a clear restatement of the most basic antisemitic theme of all — that wealthy Jews buy up power" and said that the Liberal Democrats' inaction over Ward was contemptible.[44]

Comments on Hamas rockets[edit]

Ward created controversy in July 2014 when he tweeted in relation to the ongoing Israeli conflict in Gaza suggesting that if he lived in Gaza, he would fire rockets at Israel: "The big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes."[45]

Ward was quickly condemned by other politicians. Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps called the tweet "essentially [an] incitement to violence" and encouraged him to withdraw the comments.[46] A Liberal Democrat spokesperson called the tweet "vile and crass".[47] Ward faces disciplinary action from his party for posting the tweets.[48]

Comments following Charlie Hebdo attack[edit]

Ward created more controversy in January 2015 when, during the republican marches that followed the Charlie Hebdo shooting and Porte de Vincennes hostage crisis during which four French Jews were murdered at a kosher supermarket, he tweeted "Je suis #Palestinian"[49] (a play on the Je suis Charlie slogan) and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's presence in Paris "makes [him] feel sick".[50] The tweet was criticised by the Israeli ambassador.[51] A Lib Dem spokesman said "David Ward does not speak for the Liberal Democrats on this issue. He has well known and strongly held views on this issue but this tweet was clearly in bad taste."[52] The comments were also condemned by party leader Nick Clegg.[53]


  1. ^ a b "Find your MP – David Ward". Parliament UK. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Election 2010: Bradford East". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Syal, Rajeev (18 July 2013). "Lib Dems withdraw party whip from MP David Ward over Israel comment". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  4. ^ O'Donoghue, Gary (18 July 2013). "MP David Ward has Lib Dem whip withdrawn over Israel comment". BBC News. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Bradford East Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "David Ward MP speaking about community cohesion in Bradford". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Business Innovation in Bradford – Panel Q&A with Key Bradford Business Leaders". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "All About Careers – University of Bradford". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Lytton, Charlotte (17 April 2013). "University of Bradford Guide". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  10. ^ a b "Pascal Universities for a Modern Renaissance". 
  11. ^ a b "David Ward's Media Guide 2010" (PDF). 
  12. ^ "Lib Dems – Who We Are". 
  13. ^ "The Times Higher Awards 2006 – The Shortlisted Candidates (Page 5)". 
  14. ^ "Universities' Third Mission". 
  15. ^ "David Ward MP's Maiden Speech". 
  16. ^ "bantamspast – a kind of ending". 
  17. ^ "Working under Way On Free School". 
  18. ^ "Free School Funding Pulled". 
  19. ^ Nugent, Helen (28 August 2012). "Bradford free school loses funding one week before opening". The Guardian (London). 
  20. ^ Hastings, Rob (28 August 2012). "Parents rage as Michael Gove pulls free school funding days before opening". The Independent (London). 
  21. ^ "Bradford free school One In A Million has funding cut". BBC News. 28 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "David Ward MP speaks about cruel decision to pull funding for free school in Bradford". 
  23. ^ a b "Upbeat – Community Unity in Bradford". 
  24. ^ Ward, D. (26 September 2012) "Having a meeting now w/ anti-racist campaigners about their work in #Bradford & how I can support them" Twitter.com
  25. ^ "Election Candidates and their views on our Odeon". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "Former Civic Leader Dies – Telegraph & Argus". 
  27. ^ "Bradford City Council Election 2004". 
  28. ^ "www.parliament.uk – MP biographies". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  29. ^ "Schools’ joy over £500,000 reprieve". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "Schools to pay back £466,000". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "College drops plans to become academy". 
  32. ^ "Clawback amnesty declared on school cash". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "Lost exam papers blow to college". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "David Ward MP speech on Maqbool Butt Shaheed Day 2012". 
  35. ^ "UK Political Database – Bradford East". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "www.parliament.uk – MP biographies". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who". Grassroot Diplomat. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  38. ^ a b "Lib Dems condemn MP's criticism of Israel ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day". BBC News. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  39. ^ Ward, David. "(David Ward 1/25/13 Blog Entry): Bradford MP condemns Israel for treatment of Palestinians on the day he signs the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment". Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  40. ^ a b Quinn, Ben (25 January 2013). "Lib Dem MP David Ward defends remarks about Israel". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  41. ^ Cohen, Tamara and Chorley, Matt (25 January 2013. Updated 27 January 2013.). "Lib Dem MP FINALLY apologies for 'unintended offence' after suggesting 'the Jews' had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 27 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  42. ^ Ward, David. "(David Ward 1/26/13 Blog Entry): David Ward MP's update on Israel-Palestine comments". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  43. ^ a b c Rutter, Tamsin (22 July 2013). "Bradford Muslim group to show support for MP David Ward". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  44. ^ "LibDem's inaction over David Ward is contemptible". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  45. ^ "Lib Dem MP David Ward criticised over Gaza tweets", BBC News, 22 July 2014
  46. ^ https://twitter.com/grantshapps/status/491691241072238592
  47. ^ "Liberal Democrat MP Criticised For Saying He Would Fire A Rocket If He Lived In Gaza". Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  48. ^ Rowena Mason "Lib Dem MP David Ward facing disciplinary action for Gaza tweets", theguardian.com, 22 July 2014
  49. ^ https://twitter.com/DavidWardMP/status/554402934382145536
  50. ^ David Ward (@DavidWardMP), #Netanyahu in Paris march - what!!!! Makes me feel sick (11 January 2015). Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  51. ^ Gilad Atzmon, "From Israel to Nick Clegg (shocking and worrying)...," (14 January 2015). Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  52. ^ "David Ward France solidarity tweet 'in bad taste' say Liberal Democrats". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  53. ^ "Nick Clegg calls Lib Dem MP Paris attack tweet 'stupid'". BBC News. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Bradford East
Succeeded by
Imran Hussain