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The Liberal Democrats have sacked a parliamentary candidate accused of anti-Semitic comments, moving to quash an embarrassment that had threatened to distract from their anti-Brexit campaign message.

David Ward had been selected as the party’s candidate for Bradford East, the seat he lost in the last general election. In 2013 he accused “the Jews” of atrocities in Palestine, and he recently implied that British foreign policy was to blame for the terror attack of the House of Parliament.

Tim Farron, the party’s leader, said on Wednesday, “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him.”

Mr Farron had previously said it was not his role to choose individual candidates, although he accused Mr Ward of anti-Semitic comments. The decision to sack the candidate came after Theresa May criticised the Lib Dems in parliament for selecting Mr Ward.

Yesterday Mr Farron was forced to state that he does not believe gay sex is a sin, having previously declined to answer questions on the issue.

The Lib Dems, who currently have just nine seats in the Commons, have claimed that they are the only party capable of taking significant numbers of seats from the Tories, and ofproviding opposition to a hard Brexit.

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