Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden pledges to bring forward anti-BDS bill

The BDS and Sanctions bill and Holocaust Memorial Bill will be brought forward


Oliver Dowden has pledged to bring forward government legislation to ban BDS and allow the Holocaust Memorial to be built.

The deputy prime minister pledged to bring forward the BDS and Sanctions Bill and the Holocaust Memorial Bill.

The proposed bill would ban BDS to prevent further boycotts against Israel. It also follows a 2019 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to prevent local authorities from "adopting their own approach to international relations". 

Meanwhile, the new Holocaust Memorial Bill aims to update Victorian legislation and progress the building of a new Memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster. 

Planning consent for the Holocaust Memorial next to parliament was granted in July 2021. However, the decision was quashed by the High Court in April 2022 due to historic legislation that requires the garden to be maintained as a garden open to the public.

Speaking at a Jewish Leadership Council members event in Westminster on Tuesday, the senior Conservative MP said: “We are moving ahead, I can assure you, with the BDS and Sanctions Bill, it was a priority for me to get it in the Conservative manifesto in the first place.

“And it’s a priority for me as deputy prime minister to make sure that in this parliament we deliver on that legislation.”

The minister also said he would work to ensure the Holocaust Memorial legislation is "completed”.

He also stressed that both he and Rishi Sunak were “staunch defenders” of the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, JLC chair Keith Black said he will keep pressing the government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The legal change would mean it becomes a criminal offence in the UK to belong to the group or support its activities.

He told members at the event: “It was only a few months ago we had a security minister tell the House of Commons that Iran is actively targeting Jewish and Israeli individuals here in the UK.

“Like many of you here, we will continue to press the government for proscription of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a violent and malign organisation who not only threaten our community but pose a threat to society at large. Action must be taken.”

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