Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick vows to tackle parts of local Government 'corrupted' by antisemitism

Boris Johnson's minister attacks 'corrupted' universities and 'parts of local government' - but rejects claims a No Deal Brexit will harm religious freedoms enjoyed by British Jews


Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has vowed to take action against universities and "parts of local government" who he says have become "corrupted" by antisemitism.

Highlighting the Jewish background of his wife and her family the MP for Newark said: "I never thought I’d have to explain to my three daughters, their great grandchildren, that anti-Jewish racism is on the rise in our country. 

"That I would walk them into their synagogue, past parents providing protection in stab proof vests."

Mr Jenrick, who is not Jewish himself, directed his attack at the universities who receive public money but "choose not to accept our IHRA definition of antisemitism and use it when considering matters such as disciplinary procedures".

Writing in the Sunday Express, he added: "I will use my position as Secretary of State to write to all universities and local authorities to insist that they adopt the IHRA definition at the earliest opportunity.

"I expect them to confirm to me when they do so. 

"Failure to act in this regard is unacceptable and I will be picking up the phone to Vice Chancellors and local government leaders to press for action, if none is forthcoming. 

"There are bystanders in this battle. There can be no excuses for inaction."

Mr Jenrick wrote of his disgust at the appearance of "Hitler was right" stickers at universities along with campaigns calling for the collapse of Israel.

His own wife was born in Israel and Mr Jenrick, who addressed the Board of Deputies plenary on Sunday, said he would not tolerate local authority approved BDS campaigns in the UK.

"Local authorities should not be wasting time and taxpayer’s money by dabbling in foreign policy or pursuing anti-Israel political obsessions, but instead focussing on delivering first class local public services," he said.

A close ally of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Jenrick also said attacked Labour over its record on antisemtism.

He said Jeremy Corbyn was unfit to be PM.

On Sunday the Government confirmed it was making an extra £100, 000 of funding available for an Antisemitism Policy Trust initiative on tackling online hate.

The amoney will support the development of  short, educative videos to counter, debunk, and undermine the proliferation of hateful antisemitic material online.

The Communities Secretary also rejected claims that a No Deal Brexit will put the religious freedoms enjoyed by British Jews at risk.

Responding to this suggestion, made on Sunday by Chigwell and Hainault Deputy Tal Ofer, Mr Jenrick said: "All of the values that we care about, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. 

"The right of this faith community, and any other, to live in this country protected and respected - that is not reliant on our membership of the European Union.

"Those values certainly existed before we joined the EU and I certainly hope they will exist for many many generations to come."

Questioning the minister at Sunday's Board meeting in central London, Mr Ofer had asked how as someone who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum he could support a No Deal Brexit.

Mr Jenrick said he respected the result of the referedum and had no intention of resigning from government in the same way as Amber Rudd, the MP for Hastings and Rye.

He was later photographed with Board President Marie van der Zyl.

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