LIBERAL Democrat MP David Ward has issued what the party described as a categorical apology after he was accused of inciting violence over the Gaza crisis.

The Bradford East MP said his comments were not meant to support Hamas rocket attacks and "if they gave the opposite impression, I apologise".

The statement came after the Board of Deputies of British Jews called on LibDem leader Nick Clegg to withdraw the party whip from Mr Ward, whose membership was suspended for a period following previous controversial remarks about Israel and the Jews.

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Following his statement, the Liberal Democrats said that Mr Ward would meet chief whip Don Foster "in due course" after which a decision would be made on whether disciplinary action should be taken.

Mr Ward was widely accused of inciting violence with a tweet on Tuesday night in which he said: "The big question is - if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes."

The LibDems said they "utterly condemned" the remarks, which "are not representative of the Liberal Democrats".

Yesterday Mr Ward issued a statement in which he said: "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."

A LibDem spokesman said that in light of the "categorical apology" the party and whips would decide whether to take disciplinary action.