Last Orders with John Stapleton

Last Orders with John Stapleton

Last Orders with John Stapleton this week looks at national strike action and the legacy of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.

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National

Tory chairman condemns 'appalling rocket tweet'

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps Credit: PA

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has called on Liberal Democrat MP David Ward to withdraw remarks made over the Israel-Gaza conflict, which Labour said was a "vile" comment by a "desperate" MP.

"Appalling: No MP should Tweet what's essentially incitement to violence," Mr Shapps said. "Mr Ward must withdraw now. Completely irresponsible."

Read: Lib Dem MP: If I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? Probably.

National

Ex-Lib Dem MEP apology after 'disputatious Jews' slur

A former Lib Dem MEP, Ed McMillan-Scott, has criticised a Jewish Community group and the editor of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper in tweet.

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Uh oh, former Lib Dem MEP @emcmillanscott quickly apologising for this one. Lib Dems are in real trouble today. http://t.co/9tQwDd12ew

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The tweet was deleted shortly after being posted, and an apology was issued this morning.

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I apol to @boardofdeputies altho they didn't when I was smeared by @stephenpollard in 2009 at behest of #Coulson. D Tel did tho. I'm not a/S

ITV News are awaiting a response from the Liberal Democrats.

The comments were in response to comments posted on Twitter yesterday from Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, who said he would "probably" fire a rocket at Israel if he lived in Gaza.

Read: Lib Dem MP: If I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket?

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David Ward says western politics is 'failing' Palestinians

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.@davidwardmp says he condemned violence on both sides in parliament - including firing of missiles from Gaza. Now people picking on tweet

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.@davidwardmp says Palestinians only firing missiles because 'they're absolutely desperate' and 'politicians in West failing them'

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.@davidwardmp says he's not condoning firing rockets. He just 'understands why people are so desperate that they're doing it'.

Bradford MP faces new disciplinary investigation over Israel comments

The Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East was accused of inciting violence and faces a fresh disciplinary investigation after backing Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.

David Ward was suspended by the party for several weeks last year after making a string of controversial comments about Israel and Jews.

Now his future is once again in doubt after he used social media to give his verdict on the violence currently rocking the Middle East.

"The big question is - if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes," he posted on Twitter.

The party said it "utterly condemned" the remarks which "are not representative of the Liberal Democrats".

"Nick Clegg has been at the forefront of calling for peace in Israel and Gaza," a spokesman said in a statement.

"The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue."

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps called on the MP to withdraw the remark, which Labour said was a "vile" comment by a "desperate" MP.

"Appalling: No MP should Tweet what's essentially incitement to violence," Mr Shapps said. "Mr Ward must withdraw now. Completely irresponsible."

Another Lib Dem MP, Stephen Williams, distanced himself from his party colleague's views.

"I think Israel's response is heavy handed but Hamas rocket firing is deplorable too," he told him. "I've seen school bomb shelters in S Israel."

Mr Ward, the MP for Bradford East, had the party whip restored in September after serving a suspension over a series of clashes with the Lib Dem hierarchy over his views on Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.

The final straw for leadership was a posting in July last year questioning the future existence of the state of Israel which the party said broke a previous agreement to use "proportionate and precise" language when commenting on the issue.

Mr Ward condemned that ruling as "disproportionate" saying such views were widely shared.

A Labour spokesman said: "At a time when all sides should be working for a ceasefire and a peaceful settlement, it defies belief that a Liberal Democrat MP should tweet something so vile and irresponsible.

"Nick Clegg must act immediately to disassociate his party from this comment."

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Government intervention in Doncaster Council set to stop

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says intervention in Doncaster Council is to come to an early close.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says intervention in Doncaster Council is to come to an early close.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says intervention in Doncaster Council is to come to an early close. Credit: Doncaster Council

In a written ministerial statement the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, said that given the level of improvement that Doncaster has now achieved, their firm plans for the future, and their readiness to engage with the wider local government sector on improvement, continuing the statutory corporate intervention will add little, if any, value.

Doncaster Council was placed into intervention in 2010 following an Audit Commission Corporate Governance Inspection when the council was found to be not serving its residents as well as it should have.

Following the results of the recent independent Peer Review, a team of local government experts reported that the council is now functioning well and has made tangible and positive improvements in how it is managed and led.

I have been determined to lead Doncaster Council out of Government intervention and I am delighted with this announcement which recognises how much the council has changed. It is testament of everybody’s hard work. This announcement is an early endorsement of our progress to date. We are aware that there is still more work to do but we are firmly heading in the right direction so we can create more jobs and deliver better services for residents.

– Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster

Demolition of former National Coal Board HQ

One of Doncaster's tallest buildings the 12-storey Council House is to be demolished by a controlled-explosion today.

The building , which was built in 1966 was originally the headquarters of the National Coal Board before the council took it over. The demolition of the building , which has been empty since last year is part of the town's Civic and Cultural Quarter regeneration.

Police: 'EDL rally passed off peacefully'

Police say an EDL demonstration in Doncaster earlier, passed off peacefully. Around a hundred and fifty members of the English Defence League staged a protest this lunchtime, which was followed by a counter demo by anti-facist campaigners. A number of residents watched on from outside their homes - many to show their objection to the march. Police say no one was arrested during the march and only two people were arrested by British Transport Police before it started, for being drunk and disorderly.

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