Nigel Farage talks to the media as he canvasses for votes in the South Shields by-election in April 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.
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UKIP's own privately educated clique

The party attacked "privately educated" Times journalists. But its leader, treasurer, a third of its MEPs and all of its peers were similary well-schooled. 

In an attempt to portray the Times's investigation of Nigel Farage's EU allowances as part of a sinister establishment plot, UKIP yesterday published a series of disparaging profiles of some of the paper's senior journalists (Daniel Finkelstein, Matthew Parris, Alice Thomson, Hugo Rifkind, Rachel Sylvester, Tim Montgomerie and Alexi Mostrous).

It drew particular attention to the fact that six of the seven were privately educated, an odd line of attack given that its leader was schooled at the none-too-shabby Dulwich College. And Farage isn't the only senior Ukip figure to have passed through the nefarious public school system.

Two of the party's other MEPs, Stuart Agnew and William Legge, were educated at Gordonstoun and Eton respectively. In addition, all three of its peers were privately schooled (Eton, Stowe and Institut Le Rosey), its treasurer, Stuart Wheeler, is another Old Etonian and its defence spokesman, Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, was educated at Ampleforth College. 

As I said, a dubious line of attack indeed. 

Here's the full list.

Nigel Farage (Leader): Dulwich College

Stuart Wheeler (Treasurer): Eton College

Alexander Fermor-Hesketh (Defence Spokesman): Ampleforth College

Stuart Agnew (MEP): Gordonstoun School 

William Legge (MEP): Eton College 

Lord Stevens (Peer): Stowe School

Lord Pearson (Peer): Eton College

Lord Willoughby de Broke (Peer): Institut Le Rosey

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tim Farron sacks former MP David Ward

The Liberal Democrat leader said Ward's remarks made him "unfit" to stand. 

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has sacked David Ward as a candidate declaring him "unfit to represent the party". 

Ward, who lost his seat in Bradford East in 2015, once said "the Jews" were "within a few years of liberation from the death camps...inflicting atrocities on Palestinians". At the time, the comments caused outcry, and Ward faced disciplinary procedures - later adjourned.

Farron, though, doesn't intend to revisit this particular episode. After news broke that Ward had been re-selected to stand as a candidate, he initially said it was not the leader's job to select candidates, but hours later had intervened to stop it. 

In a short statement, he said: "I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him."

Although Ward has been involved in anti-racism organisations, he has courted controversy with his conflation of Jews with Israel, his questioning of Israel's right to exist, and his tweet in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, in which French Jews were targeted, that "Je suis #Palestinian".

While the anti-Semitism row threatened to knock the Lib Dem's early election campaign off course, Farron's decision may help him avoid the ongoing saga haunting the rival Labour party. In April, Labour decided not to expel Ken Livingstone for his claim that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism "before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews".

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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