Labour Friends of Israel name new chair

John Woodcock MP

John Woodcock MP

Labour Friends of Israel has selected John Woodcock as its new chairman.

Mr Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, had been a vice-chair since September last year and takes on the role following the death of David Cairns in May.

Mr Woodcock said: "It is a tremendous honour to become chair of LFI and a big responsibility at such a difficult time for the Middle East peace process. I am taking over in sad circumstances after the death of David – my friend and a great friend of Israel over many years.

"I am determined to honour David's memory by taking forward his great passions: making the case for a two-state solution as the only route to lasting peace, and celebrating this great nation which is rooted in the progressive liberal values we all hold dear."

LFI director Jennifer Gerber said: "John is a vocal and committed friend of Israel, and has a deep understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the politics of the region."

Mr Woodcock, who is 32, is seen as a rising star of the Labour Party. He was elected to Parliament in last year's general election and is a shadow minister for transport. He previously worked as an aide to John Hutton during his time as Barrow MP, and as a special adviser to Gordon Brown during his Premiership.

Last updated: 4:05pm, July 5 2011