Just 19 — and helping beat back the BNP

By Dana Gloger, May 9, 2008

Jewish candidates gained council seats across the country in last week’s local elections, often in wards where they fought off the BNP.

Rebecca Cohen, the youngest Tory

In Epping Forest, Brian Sandley (Conservative) took the Chigwell Row ward, and 19-year-old Rebecca Cohen won Loughton Forest for the Conservatives. Ms Cohen became the youngest person ever to win a seat on Epping Forest District Council.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I didn’t expect to be elected because I’m so young.”

Ms Cohen, a barrister’s clerk, explained that she decided to become a councillor due to the presence of the BNP in her local area. “The BNP had six seats here and as a Jewish girl I don’t agree with their policies and that’s what made me want to stand.”

In Bury, Michelle Wiseman, Conservative, won the Pilkington Park ward, while Sam Cohen, also Conservative, was re-elected for the Unsworth ward. Married mother-of-three Mrs Wiseman is chief executive of Manchester Jewish Community Care and is also the Parliamentary candidate for Bury South.

Mr Cohen, a member of Bury Hebrew Congregation, was first elected to the council in 1983.

In Hertsmere, just north of London, Linda Silver, Conservative, held her seat in Bushey Park.

Transatlantic airline pilot Andrew Zucker (Conservative) took the Borehamwood Brookmeader ward; Simon Padnick (Conservative) held onto his Aldenham West seat, and Hannah David also retained the Borehamwood Hillside ward. In Leeds, both of the Jewish candidates who stood for election won their wards. Conservative Ronald Feldman, first elected a councillor in 1971, and a previous Lord Mayor of the city, snared the Alwoodley ward, while Liberal Democrat Mark Harris, a trustee of Leeds’s Sinai Synagogue, took the Moortown ward.

Also in the north of the country, Edwin Clein (LibDem) kept his Childwall seat in Liverpool. Beatrice Fraenkel, formerly a LibDem councillor
for 22 years, defected to Labour and won Liverpool’s Kirkdale ward.

Harry Davies (LibDem), a member of Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, was re-elected for Three Rivers’ Chorleywood West ward.

None of the four Jewish candidates standing in Salford — three Conservatives and one LibDem — won the seats that they were contesting.

Last updated: 4:47pm, May 14 2008