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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Rebuke for peer's Israel remarks
Jenny Tonge
Jenny Tonge was offensive and anti-Semitic, Sir Menzies said
A Liberal Democrat peer has been severely rebuked by Sir Menzies Campbell for claiming the pro-Israeli lobby had "got its grips on the world".

Jenny Tonge was told by her leader that he was dissociating himself and his party from her "unacceptable" remarks.

They were "contrary to the principles of the party" and cast "an unjustified slur on its leadership", he said.

The baroness, who refused to comment further, was sacked as a frontbench MP in 2004 for remarks on suicide bombers.

At that time she said she would consider becoming a bomber if she was a Palestinian, although she insisted she was not condoning such attacks.

Sir Menzies wrote to her after discovering his party had no formal disciplinary procedures available to punish backbenchers - a matter which he has now asked the Liberal Democrat leaders of the Commons and the Lords to review.

"I defend absolutely your right to express your views on the Middle East, including legitimate criticism of the state of Israel," he said.

"But I do not believe that the remarks you used fell within that category.

"Accordingly you should regard this letter as a severe reprimand."

He said the remarks had "clear anti-Semitic connotations".

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