Foreign Secretary may get rougher ride at this year's Israel meeting


The Foreign Secretary's views on the Iran nuclear deal and prospects for peace in the Middle East will feature at next week's Conservative Party annual conference.

Philip Hammond is due to speak at the Conservative Friends of Israel reception on Tuesday night, in what is one of the most popular Tory fringe sessions.

Mr Hammond proved a star draw last year, with hundreds of young party activists turning out to hear him discuss the fall-out from that summer's Gaza conflict.This year, following the Iran nuclear deal and his apparent difference of opinion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem, Mr Hammond may find he receives a slightly less warm welcome.

CFI's new chairman, Sir Eric Pickles, will also speak, as will Eitan Na'eh, Israel's deputy ambassador to Britain. The Middle East is not expected to feature highly on this year's conference agenda or in the fringe sessions. The clash with the final days of Succot means Jewish groups, including the Board of Deputies, are not running their traditional annual conference events.

The Holocaust Educational Trust will host a special session paying tribute to the life of Sir Nicholas Winton. It will feature Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, who was one of the children saved by Sir Nicholas's Kindertransport, and will be introduced by Tory party deputy chairman, Robert Halfon.The conference will be another landmark for the Conservatives' chairman, Lord Feldman, and his deputy, Mr Halfon. The Jewish officials have enjoyed greater prominence since May's general election victory.

Twickenham MP Tania Mathias will speak at a session on a "just policy for Palestine" hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and New Statesman magazine on Tuesday. The event is also due to feature Arthur Goodman, Jews for Justice for Palestinians' parliamentary liaison.

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