UK government

1922 Committee success for Halfon

By Leon Symons, May 27, 2010

Robert Halfon, the new Tory MP for Harlow in Essex, has been elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

Mr Halfon, former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, defeated former Labour minister Bill Rammell with a majority of 4,925.

Now, even though he has been in Parliament for only a couple of weeks, he has been elected by fellow MPs to the c ommittee, which acts as a conduit for backbenchers to formulate their views independently of the front bench. It also plays a key part in the election of a new party leader.

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Hague is no friend of Israel

By Stephen Pollard, May 27, 2010

There's a lazy theory among some in our community that - to be blunt - the Conservatives are good for the Jews, and Labour less so. Specifically, that Labour's backbench army of anti-Israel zealots stands in contrast with the more generally pro-Israel stance of the Tories.

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Optimism over Conservative faith school plan

May 21, 2010

The head of the Jewish Leadership Council's schools task force is hopeful that planned education reforms could help to relieve the pressure on places at Jewish schools.

One of the key pledges in the Conservative election manifesto was to make it easier for parents to open new schools with state funding.

This cannot come a moment too soon for parents in parts of Hertfordshire and north-west London, where there appears to be a growing shortage of Jewish primary school places.

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Jewish MPs take up top positions in new government

By Robyn Rosen, May 21, 2010

A former B'nai B'rith Youth Organisation leader and a director of a Middle East peace foundation are among the Jewish politicians appointed as part of the new coalition government.

Grant Shapps, a one-time BBYO youth leader, who is now Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield, has been appointed Housing Minister and will work under Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

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Brooks Newmark MP gets business role

By Robyn Rosen, May 21, 2010

Jewish MP Brooks Newmark has been made Government Whip to the Business Department.

The Conservative has been MP for Braintree since 2005 and was re-elected earlier this month with a 16,121 majority.

His responsibilities, under Business Secretary Vince Cable, will include attending certain ministerial meetings and assisting in the passage of business legislation.

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Anti-Israel demo planned for David Cameron

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Film director Ken Loach, Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, comedian Jeremy Hardy and Sir Gerald Kaufman MP are signatories to a petition which will be delivered to Downing St as part of an anti-Israel march this weekend.

It will be the first organised rally outside Downing Street since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

Representatives of the Green Party, UNITE, UNISON, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and CND are also planning to attend.

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New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The one-time BBYO leader, Grant Shapps, has been appointed Housing Minister in David Cameron’s new government.

Mr Shapps, who represents Welwyn and Hatfield, is a former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party. He will be part of the Department for Communities and Local Government, headed by Eric Pickles.

Oliver Letwin, once Shadow Chancellor when Michael Howard led the party, has been made Minister of State for Policy, and will attend cabinet meetings when required.

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Labour peer Lord Bernstein dies

By Jessica Elgot, April 13, 2010

Labour peer and former chairman of Granada Television, Lord Bernstein, has died aged 74.

Lord Bernstein, the former Alexander Bernstein, was spearheading a video documentation project of Anglo Jewry alongside the Jerusalem Foundation.

His father and uncle founded the Granada television company, of which he later became managing director and chairman.

A former pupil of Stowe School, Lord Bernstein studied at St John’s College, Cambridge.

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Martin Linton: Listen to his 'tentacles' speech

By Jessica Elgot, April 12, 2010

Martin Linton, MP for Battersea and chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, has apologised for describing the "long tentacles of Israel" reaching into British politics.

The Battersea MP said he was sorry for any offence but maintained he was not aware of the antisemitic precedents for the image of a Jewish octopus stretching around the world.

You can listen to the extract of Mr Linton's speech here.

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Minister David Lammy guest at Golders Green club

By Robyn Rosen, April 1, 2010

Higher Education Minister David Lammy was among the special guests as a Golders Green club for Orthodox boys celebrated its move to new premises.

Chaverim has taken over a former Kwik Fit outlet with plans to turn the site into a community centre.

The club incorporates a computer centre, library, lounge and pool, snooker and table tennis tables.

It runs activities for all ages between seven and 25 and has 1,800 members. Over 200 people attended the official opening.

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