AN ex-Tory party member who claims he was accused of anti-Semitism during a parliamentary debate by the MP for Hendon has challenged him to apologise or repeat the comments outside the chamber.

Matthew Offord MP accused an unnamed person answering the description of Adrian Murray-Leonard, the former West Hendon and Hendon ward chairman, of making anti-Semitic comments during a debate on Thursday.

Because he was speaking in Parliament, Mr Offord is protected by the rules of Parliamentary privilege, which are designed to allow MPs to speak freely in debates without fear of legal action.

It followed an attack on Mr Offord by Mr Murray-Leonard, who quit to join UKIP after becoming disillusioned with the Conservatives, last week.

Today he told the Times Series he was “shocked” by the accusations, which he denied, and said he had a Jewish grandmother and several close Jewish friends.

He said: “It's ridiculous. I demand a public apology. If he doesn't want to give that, he should come out of the chambers of Parliament and say it to my face. That's a challenge Mr Offord.

“Yet again politics is dragged further down into the sewer. It's a personal attack on me. My friends, family and ex-colleagues in the Conservative party are disgusted by it all.

“I've had literally hundreds and hundreds of emails showing me support from home and abroad.”

In the attack, during a debate on anti-Semitism, Mr Offord said: "I was always rather concerned about some of the views of this individual, but we are a broad church in the Conservative party.

“However, this individual started making anti-Semitic comments. Once I was elected, I would have no truck with any such individuals. I hear today through the local press that he has decided to join UKIP.

“UKIP is welcome to someone who makes anti-Semitic remarks, because he is certainly not welcome in the Conservative party.”

In his resignation letter Mr Murray-Leonard, who campaigned to get Mr Offord elected in May by a majority of 106 votes from Labour's Andrew Dismore, said he feared letting Labour back in.

He added: “He should do the honourable thing and resign. He's proven he's not a particularly god MP. I would rather see Dismore back in. At least he did things for the constituency.

“I was very moved by some of the comments I've received from people. People I've never met are coming out to offer me support.

“I've worked with all the Jewish people in the Conservative party, they're lifelong friends. I find it very very sad he's using the good name of the Jewish religion for his own ends.”