Jenny Tonge resigns

Baroness Jenny Tonge has resigned from the Liberal Democrats after refusing to apologise over her remarks about Israel.

According to Nicolas Watt of the Guardian, this follows Nick Clegg’s ultimatum that she should apologise for her remarks or resign.

HuffpoUK has the story:

Baroness Tonge has resigned the Lib Dem whip in the House of Lords, according to reports, after refusing to apologise for claiming that Israel would not “last forever”.

The Liberal Democrat peer, who once said she would consider becoming a suicide bomber if she were Palestinian, was roundly criticised for the remarks. According to reports on the Guido Fawkes blog she quit as a Liberal Democrat peer after refusing an ultimatum from Nick Clegg to apologise or resign.

Speaking at an event at Middlesex University last Thursday, Baroness Tonge said Israel would one day lose the support of the United States and would then “reap what they have sown”.

“Beware Israel,” she said. “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance. One day the United States of America will get sick of giving £70 billion a year to Israel.”

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  • Nanny Brett 29th Feb '12 - 7:47pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Jenny Tonge.
    When will the US stop financing Israel?
    Jenny Tonge is a woman of integrity and she knows what she is talking about when it comes to Israel/Palestine

  • Martin Pierce 1st Mar '12 - 6:25am

    Note – Jenny has NOT resigned from the Liberal Democrats – ie she is very much still a Party member. I heard this from Jenny herself

  • I worry about a Lib Dem peer having to resign for exercising her right to free speech. What sort of a world are we living in when a nation’s responses are so feared that we feel we can’t make any criticism of them? I doubt whether any Liberal would fail to see that there is certainly some truth in what Jenny Tonge has said, as there is usually some truth in what is said on either side of an argument. Chris Davies’s outspoken comments on the plight of Palestinians have not led to his being asked to resign and of course they shouldn’t be. They are, however, simply the other side of the coin from what Jenny TOnge is saying. I don’t like illiberalism but I despise hypocrisy.

  • sarah morris 1st Mar '12 - 9:55am

    Have you ever visited Israel Nancy? Have you ever heard J Tonge’s previous disgusting remarks? I doubt it. Did you know that nearly a million Jewish people were made refugess from Arab lands? I have never heard her comment on that. She has totally put me off voting Lib Dem who I used to support

  • Jenny Tonge’s prediction may or may not come true in her lifetime, but nothing in politics goes on for ever.
    Her remarks were a reasonable assessment of the facts, not anti-Semitic propaganda and gave no reason for you to ask her to resign the whip.

    The Lib Dem party is not a Zionist organisation. We have nothing in our constitution requiring us to supress any assessment which does not find favour with the Israeli Government.
    Nick had no reason to demand Jenney give up the whip. Yet again he opened his mouth before engaging his brain.

    He should apologise and beg her to return to the whip. Failure to do so would be an indication of pro- Israeli anti-Palestinian bias in the Party.

  • “We have nothing in our constitution requiring us to supress any assessment which does not find favour with the Israeli Government. True, but this is the second time Clegg has taken action against a Lib Dem politician for speaking out against Israeli polices after a complaint from the Lib Dem friends of Israel.

  • Robin Martlew 1st Mar '12 - 2:15pm

    I could never undestand why Jenny had to resign when Charles aske her. I certainly don’t understand now!
    I fully agree with her and believe I would have taken a very similar attitudte on the first occason. Not to understand her position seems to me to be very illiberal and unperceptive.

  • Robert Griffiths 2nd Mar '12 - 10:27am

    The fact was mentioned on the BBC, in the Telegraph but no comment was allowed, it was mentioned in the Sun but their Comments pages was down, and it was not mentioned in the Independent.

    Some Freedom of Speech, shame on Clegg.

  • sad misguided woman, on this and so many other things. No great loss.

  • Michael Parsons 5th Mar '12 - 3:26am

    Surely it is Liberal to insist that Israel accepts UN nuclear weapons inspection, like Iran; is made to pay for repeatedly destroying donor-financed Palestinian development (air-port, docks etc) and end its blockade ; restore tax income to Gaza; and permit economic development there; and stop settlement building and accept international law. These things are simple justice,not anti-Semitic. As in Biblical times Israel has a poor future because it is a buffer state, and foolishly aggressive along with it.. Involving NATO through US in the risk of intense Middle East conflict which it will not survive does not look like policy for a sustainable national existence, especially given the repeated failure of US power to attain US goals there.
    Warning Israel that it is increasingly isolated in its own region and in the world order (Russia/China/India/Indonesia) is a friendly act , before conventional frontier negotiation turns into an endless process of mutual extermination.
    Above all the truth of these ideas can only be tested in the arena of open discussion, and to seek to silence an opponent is an admission of weakness: Nick should remember this:” Brother, I disagree with every word you say – but I would die for your right to say it.”

  • Ian Sheppard 5th Mar '12 - 11:50am

    Baroness Tonge has merely stated the b* obvious. (We used to think the British Empire would last for ever – remember ?). The moral seems to be that if you have an independent opinion you will not be acceptable in any form of parliamentary position. A form of government which I could do without.

    We need more of her kind.

  • Good for her. She is a loss to our party. Now, if Nick were to resign …

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