On 28th January 2013, it was reported that Cllr Ward had received a written warning from the Liberal Democrats, which a Party spokesman described as the “equivalent of a yellow card”.
On 18th July 2013, in response to his tweet , and following a further tweet, made on 13th July 2013, it was reported that the Party whip had been withdrawn from Cllr Ward for three months.
On 11th October 2016, it was reported that, whilst then Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP deemed some of Cllr Ward’s comments to be antisemitic, he nevertheless considered that he had “served his time” and so it was “appropriate” for him to represent the party as a councillor.
On 25th April 2017, it was reported that Cllr Ward had been selected as the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate for Bradford East.
On 26th April 2017, following challenges in Parliament, Tim Farron tweeted that Ward was unfit to represent the Party and that he had “sacked” him. It is understood that, in practice, this means that Mr Farron, in his capacity as Leader, prevented Cllr Ward from being selected as a candidate. It was further reported that Cllr Ward’s membership of the Party had been suspended pending an investigation.
On 10th May 2017, it was reported that Cllr Ward had said he would stand as an independent candidate in the June elections, explaining that he could not appeal his suspension until after the election and believed it was the right of the local electorate to decide whether he should be their MP. An independent panel was due to investigate his comments once the election was over.
It is unclear when exactly Cllr Ward was expelled from the Party, although it appears to have been as a result of his having decided to stand as an independent candidate, as opposed to any other conduct; however, on 25th May 2017, Prue Bray (the chair of the Liberal Democrats’ English Candidates Committee, who claimed responsibility for Cllr Ward’s dismissal) tweeted that he was no longer a member of the Party.
Cllr Ward subsequently stood as an independent candidate, but was not elected.
On 20th July 2017, it was reported that Cllr Ward had appealed his suspension from the Party.
On 8th March 2018, it was reported that Cllr Ward was a member of the notorious Palestine Live Facebook group, which had been discovered to include posts relating to Holocaust denial and a variety of antisemitic myths.
On 25th January 2019, Cllr Ward wrote on Facebook: “I think it only right to await the formal letter from the Chair of the Panel but suffice to say I hope to be on the Lib Dem Friends of Palestine stall at the next Party Conference- is it the end? I need to speak to others, including my legal advisors but three outstanding issues remain 1. My removal as a Lib Dem Candidate in the General Election in 2017 2. The suspension of my membership for claiming that supporters of Israel were behind my removal as the Candidate 3. Possible action against those who sacked me as a school Governor following Tim Farron’s lie that he sacked me as the Candidate because I was antisemitic.”
On 31st January 2019, it was reported that Cllr Ward had been readmitted as a member of the Liberal Democrats following an appeal hearing by the Regional Parties Committee which had taken place the previous week.
It was further reported that, whilst accepting that the Party was right to cancel his membership when he decided to run as an independent candidate in the 2017 general election, Cllr Ward maintained that his initial suspension was unjust.
Cllr Ward reportedly stated that he had retained the support of both the local and regional Liberal Democrat groups throughout the period of his suspension and expulsion from the party.
However, it was later reported on 31st January 2019 that the Liberal Democrats had denied the earlier report of Cllr Ward’s readmission. A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats told Campaign Against Antisemitism: “I can confirm that David Ward is not a member of the Liberal Democrats and was expelled previously for bringing the party into disrepute.”
Cllr Ward was reportedly still listed on Bradford City Council’s website as a Liberal Democrat
councillor and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, where his entry
clearly bore the Liberal Democrat logo. It was further reported that, when asked how long Cllr Ward had sat with the group in the chamber, Brendan Stubbs, the Bradford Liberal Democrat chief whip had told the Jewish Chronicle that he “didn’t know”.
Cllr Ward reportedly admitted that he is not in fact a member, but claimed that all obstacles to his readmission had been cleared: his application had been approved by both the Bradford and Yorkshire Liberal Democrats but was previously blocked by the Regional Parties Committee, which oversees compliance, members’ conduct and disciplinary action. This objection had been overturned at a hearing on 24th January 2019, Cllr Ward claimed, leaving him free to apply to have his full membership reinstated.
A further report, also published on 31st January 2019, quoted a ruling made by the Regional Parties Committee relating to Cllr Ward’s application to re-join the Party, in which it was stated: “In acting as it did, the Regional Parties Committee took on a responsibility that the English Party had devolved to the Regional Party. Accordingly, the decision to refuse membership is overturned.”
Cllr Ward reportedly claimed that this ruling had cleared the way for him to reapply to join the Party, and that a “very senior member of the national party” had assured him that simply following the application process would be sufficient for his membership to be restored.
He reportedly said: “There’s a few formalities in terms of notification to the membership services but once that’s done it should all go through” and dismissed allegations of racism, saying, “I haven’t got a record of antisemitism.”
However, Rosy Cobb, the Head of Media for the Liberal Democrats reportedly insisted that the Party had no plans to reinstate him, and seemed to deny that the Party had received an application from Cllr Ward to appeal for the right to apply for reinstatement.
On 1st July 2019, Cllr Ward posted on Facebook that he had been told definitively that he would not be allowed to re-join the party, and that no appeal against the decision would be permitted except on the grounds of process or procedure. Moreover, Cllr Ward seemed to suggest that the grounds for denying his readmission was as a result of his having made the statement in .
At the time of writing, on 8th June 2020, Cllr Ward is listed on Bradford City Council’s website as a member of the Liberal Democrat and Independent group.
In June 2020, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to Cllr Ward, but did not receive a response.