London Jewish Forum co-chair Andrew Gilbert changes mind and will contest Board of Deputies vice-presidency

Board announces candidates who will stand for office in May 12 election


Andrew Gilbert

Veteran Board of Deputies member Andrew Gilbert has reversed his decision to withdraw his candidacy for the vice-presidency and announced he will stand in the May election.

He will compete against four others for the three vice-presidential posts who have secured the requisite endorsements from fellow-deputies.

They are Adrian Cohen, Denise Lester, Owen Power and Jeremy Michelson.

Gilbert, who is co-chair of the London Jewish Forum, vice-president of the Movement for Reform Judaism and a supporter of the Jewish Labour Movement, had said he would be dropping out of the race to concentrate on his role on the executive of the newly launched initiative Global Jewry.

But in a WhatsApp message, he explained, “Since then I have been approached by many people from our community asking me to reconsider. I do care deeply about the Board of Deputies. I am very focused on Policing and Health matters and working with politicians particularly in London. So I am very aware of the challenge of this time.”

He added, “After six years of serving as a vice chair of a division, one is faced with a choice: retreat to the back benches or seize the opportunity to become an Honorary Officer. I thus concluded, that now is the time for me to stand as a Vice President, ready to work on the challenges facing the Jewish community.”

While he has not stood for Board office before, he has played a key role in previous elections on the campaign team of other candidates.

The Board’s senior vice-president David Mendoza-Wolfson, who at 29 was the youngest officer to be elected in 2021, has not sought re-election.

The Board formally confirmed the candidacies for office for the next triennial on Thursday. Michael Ziff, Sheila Gewolb, Amanda Bowman and Phil Rosenberg will contest the presidency, while Ben Crowne, who resigned as treasurer in 2022, is set to return unopposed to the post.

Candidates are due to release their manifestos for the May 12 poll next week, which will be available on the Board’s website, with hustings scheduled for London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Members of the public will be able to listen to the debate and quiz candidates at the event. They will be able to submit questions in advance online.

Board executive Michael Wegier said: “Every three years, there is an opportunity to elect individuals who will act as key representatives of the UK Jewish community. More than 300 deputies, themselves elected by their synagogues and organisations, will choose the honorary officers they believe will best champion our community to government, the opposition, the media, other faith communities and the general British public. The elections will be keenly contested and totally transparent. This is democracy in action.”

You can register to attend hustings here.

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