Communities Secretary announces new UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation appointees

Deputy governor of the Bank of England and Imperial War Museum chairman to become members of committee


Three new members of the committee overseeing the building of a new Holocaust memorial next to the Houses of Parliament have been announced by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Deputy governor for financial stability at the Bank of England Sir Jon Cunliffe, Chairman of the Imperial War Museum board of trustees Matthew Westerman and religious studies professor Mona Siddiqui OBE will be the latest additions to the Foundation’s committee.

They will join co-chairs Lord Eric Pickles and Ed Balls, as well as the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, who already sit on the advisory board.

Mr Jenrick said he was “delighted” to welcome the new members. “They will bring unique professional perspectives to the Foundation as we move forward with the Memorial,” he added.

Sir Jon was “pleased and honoured to be appointed” and to be able to contribute to the establishment of a memorial that he believed would “help combat prejudice and persecution in all its forms.”

Meanwhile, Ms Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, said she was glad to “contribute to better education about the past and hopefully a more just vision for all in the future.”

The board advises the government on Holocaust provisioning, including plans for a memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster.

The location of the Holocaust memorial and the handling of its planning application have courted controversy in recent months.

In February, Westminster councillors unanimously opposed the plans, calling them “inappropriate” for the location, despite the project being called in by then-housing minister Esther McVey in November – effectively stripping the council of the decision.

Mr Jenrick was accused of breaching planning guidance by Baroness Ruth Deech, something which he denied as “inaccurate”.

Despite the Housing and Communities Secretary also technically being the planning applicant for the memorial, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has previously said the final decision would be made “independently” by housing minister Christopher Pincher.

Mr Jenrick now faces a High Court action brought by the London Gardens Trust on his handling of the planning application. The High Court will evaluate whether it is appropriate for Mr Jenrick to delegate the decision to Mr Pincher.

In a joint statement, Mr Balls and Mr Pickles said the new committee members would “strengthen” the foundation by helping to “ensure we deliver an iconic memorial and a world-class learning centre.”

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