The London mayoral candidates have been invited to a series of breakfast meetings with representatives of the Jewish community to be hosted by the London Jewish Forum. The first to accept is Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick who will make his case on April 4 at an as yet undisclosed location in north west London. London mayor Boris Johnson and his Labour rival Ken Livingstone are expected to follow suit shortly afterwards.
Next week the LJF will publish its Jewish manifesto for the election, which is likely to cover issues such us primary school provision for Jewish children, the ageing population, the lack of family homes in London and community relations.
LJF director Peter Mason said he was delighted Mr Paddick was attending. But he would not be drawn on comments made by Ken Livingstone to Jewish Labour supporters defending his decision to host radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi when he was mayor and to take money from the Iranian state broadcaster Press TV.
"The London Jewish Forum has a good record of building a relationship with Ken Livingstone," he said. "This has allowed us to raise the concerns of the community when necessary. With the polls very close, there is a real possibility Ken could win the election and it makes sense to keep the dialogue open."