As the official race for the office of London Mayor was launched this week, the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson, courted the Jewish vote by launching his campaign in Golders Green.
His first call was to the home of Rabbi Shimon Weingarten, of Bridge Lane Beth Hamedrash. The Tory challenger, standing against Ken Livingstone on May 1, met Rabbi Chaim Halpern, Dayan Menachem Gelley, head of the London Beth Din, Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation Beth Din and Rabbi Leivi Sudak.
Mr Johnson— who, like Mr Livingstone and the Liberal Democrat candidate, Brian Paddick, has held briefing meetings with a variety of Jewish organisations even before the campaign began — said that he was “honoured and privileged to meet the rabbis and the members of the local community of Golders Green. They were very welcoming and I am appreciative of that.”
The rabbis spoke about their concerns on crime, antisemitism, housing and education; Mr Johnson promised to pay close attention to such issues.
Later he paid a visit to Golders Green Police Station, which has been earmarked for closure. He was then taken to Golders Green Road, where he met local shopkeepers.
Councillor Brian Coleman, Conservative member for Barnet and Camden on the Greater London Assembly, who accompanied Mr Johnson on his visit, said: “ I am honoured that Boris accepted our invitation. He was very much welcomed by the community and he seemed quite touched by that.”