Andrew Feldman is Conservatives' secret weapon

By Simon Rocker, May 13, 2010
Andrew Feldman (right) with Ian Fenton and Sara Phillips at a lunch for the Anne Frank Trust in January

Andrew Feldman (right) with Ian Fenton and Sara Phillips at a lunch for the Anne Frank Trust in January

A key player in David Cameron's rise to power is his Oxford University contemporary, now co-chairman of the Conservative Party, Andrew Feldman.

He helped to run the campaign that propelled Mr Cameron to the Tory leadership four and half years ago, rejuvenating a party demoralised after three electoral defeats at the hands of Tony Blair.

First deputy treasurer, then chief executive since 2008, the 44-year-old businessman is, according to one party insider, "smart", "loyal to his friends" and "wedded to Dave".

The Prime Minister has himself described Mr Feldman, in the JC, as "one of my oldest and best friends".

Schooled in that crucible for high-achieving Jews, Haberdashers' Aske's in Elstree, Mr Feldman met David Cameron at Brasenose College, Oxford. Echoing a former prime ministerial relationship, the pair played tennis together.

He’s decent, gets things done and has been A1

After a few years at the bar, he moved briefly to the family clothing firm, Jayroma, staying as chief executive until his move to Conservative HQ.

His parents Marcia and Malcolm are well-known supporters of Jewish Care, his mother especially instrumental in the opening of its £2 million new mental health centre in Edgware last year.

Their son has been helpful to the charity too, according to Jewish Care chairman Stephen Zimmerman. "He's very decent, straightforward and gets things done. He's very supportive of the community and conscious of his roots. He's been an A1 person in everything I've had to deal with him over."

He and his wife Gaby, who is a niece of the late Zionist activist Percy Gourgey, and their three children, are active members of Westminster Synagogue in West London, where he was a treasurer.

Another prominent member of the congregation is Howard Leigh, a senior treasurer of the Conservative Party and chairman of Jewish Care's business breakfast committee.

Mr Feldman's political influence did not become apparent until he emerged as part of the inner circle that persuaded David Cameron to stand as an outsider for the Conservative leadership against better-known candidates. He was joined as a financial backer of the Cameron bid by another Westminster congregant, Michael Green, former head of Carlton TV, where David Cameron worked for several years.

Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, founder of the Orthodox educational organisation Tikun, who knows the family, said that Mr Feldman "uniquely combines high intelligence and independent thinking with great warmth and personality.

"He's modest, down to earth and does what he does because of a genuine desire to serve, not for the sake of honour or position. He's a very committed Jew, and while his affiliation is with the Reform movement, he is sympathetic to all areas of Judaism. But, as an intellectual, he is interested in a Judaism that makes sense to him. He's exactly the type of person whose input would contribute greatly at the highest levels of government."

Mr Feldman is said to have played a hand in helping Mr Cameron's charm offensive to the Jewish community last year, to convince those who wondered whether the young Conservative leader could equal the friendship of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He is also said to be on good terms with Jewish Leadership Council figures such as Mick Davis, Gerald Ronson and Sir Trevor Chinn.

Since his arrival at CCHQ, as it is known, he has largely kept out of the limelight, though his fundraising talents have been clearly been put to use as chairman of the party's £50,000 plus donors' club.

Last updated: 10:49am, October 6 2010