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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Friday, 2 March 2012

Baroness Tonge defends Israel comments

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Tonge has told the Today programme that Nick Clegg's decision to withdraw the party whip after her comments on Israel was made "hastily and ill advisedly".

Baroness Tonge provoked an outcry by saying that Israel "is not going to be there forever in its present form" at an event at Middlesex University and was told to apologise by the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

But she told the Today programme's John Humphrys that she had an "enormous amount of support" for her comments and that if Israel continues with its policies and loses more allies, it can not expect to survive.

But Conservative MP Robert Halfon maintained that the problem is that Baroness Tonge "represents an extreme anti-Israel view" in which she is attempting to "delegitimize" Israel.

He dismissed her comments as "conspiracy theories" and "disproportionate" given everything else that is happening in the Middle East.

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