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Man pleads guilty to sexual offences

A Shipley man has been sentenced to a total of four years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty to a series of sexual offences relating to young girls.

Gavin Rhodes was jailed for over five years
Gavin Rhodes was jailed for over five years

Gavin Rhodes, 34, of Briggate in Shipley was sentenced for twenty-six offences including causing a child to engage in sexual activity, making indecent photographs of children and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

He was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) at Leeds station on Friday 30 August last year.

Following his arrest, Rhodes’ phone was seized and a search of his house was undertaken. Officers removed items including laptop computers and hard drives.

The court was told that an examination of his phone revealed contact between Rhodes and a 13-year-old girl in which pictures of a sexual nature were exchanged.

Officers discovered images of young girls and indecent videos on his laptop as well as evidence that he had been engaging with children in internet chat rooms.

Rhodes admitted to downloading all the material and using an alias to exchange indecent images with a 13-year-old girl.

He also admitted talking to other girls between the ages of 12 and 16. In total, he was found to have more than 7,000 indecent images on his computers and hard drives.

MP apologises over Gaza twitter comments

A Bradford MP faced a storm of protest today over comments he posted on Twitter about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

David Ward, the Lib Dem MP for Bradford East, said if he lived in Gaza he would 'probably' fire a rocket at Israel.

Hundreds of civilians have died there in the past few weeks and world leaders have been calling for a ceasefire to stem the bloodshed.

Mr. Ward initially stood by his remarks but after widespread criticism, not least from his own party, he issued an apology. Chris Kiddey reports.

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David Ward MP apologises for Twitter comments

Bradford MP David Ward has apologised for comments he made on Twitter about Israel and Gaza.

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BREAKING: @davidwardmp apologises for his comments in a statement sent out by @libdempress

The Liberal Democrat said in a statement through the party:

I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza.

I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.

However, while I defend the right of Israel to exist and defend itself, I will continue to speak out for the rights of the Palestinian people who are facing untold suffering. More must be done by the world community to end this humanitarian crisis and protect the families living in Gaza. I can understand their plight and desperation.

A cease fire in this conflict is essential. If we are to end the suffering, and establish a safer society for people in Gaza, the first step must be an end to violence on both sides.

– David Ward MP
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.@libdempress say: “In light of apology, whips and party will decide in due course if further disciplinary action should be taken.”

Party 'utterly condemn' MP's tweets

The Liberal Democrats have moved to distance themselves from comments made by one of their MPs regarding Israel and Gaza.

Bradford MP David Ward provoked outrage on Twitter after comments last night which he has since apologised for.

A party spokesperson said they "utterly condemn" his remarks:

Nick Clegg has been at the forefront of calling for peace in Israel and Gaza. We utterly condemn David Ward’s comments, they are not representative of the Liberal Democrats. The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue.

– Liberal Democrat spokesperson

The party has also distanced itself from comments by former Liberal Democrat MEP Ed McMillan-Scott in support of Mr Ward which criticised the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Chronicle:

The Liberal Democrats have the utmost respect for the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Chronicle and do not endorse these comments in anyway.

– Liberal Democrat spokesperson

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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?

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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