Sir Eric Pickles and Ed Balls have described themselves as “honoured” after Theresa May appointed them to be the new co-chairs of the UK Holocaust Memorial Trust advisory board.
The two former MPs will replace Sir Peter Bazalgette, who has chaired the board since 2015 and has been a key driver of the proposed Holocaust memorial and learning centre planned for the Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament.
Sir Eric, the former Conservative Communities Secretary, and Mr Balls, the former Labour Shadow Chancellor, praised Sir Peter’s “outstanding” contribution.
Sir Eric, who is currently the government’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, said he and Mr Balls would “work to produce a memorial and a learning space that will enhance and complement existing work by government and organisations supporting Holocaust remembrance.
“Its location next to Parliament emphasises the importance the UK places in remembering mass murder that defined the 20th century.”
A design competition was held last year, with architectural firms encouraged to submit plans for the memorial and learning centre.
In October, a panel of judges which included Holocaust survivors, the Mayor of London and the Chief Rabbi chose Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and landscape architects Gustafson Porter and Bowman as the winning team.
Mr Balls said: “It is our task to ensure that Britain’s national memorial and learning centre serves both as a permanent record of the past and a clear warning for the future.
“There is much excellent work already going on in the UK, which we will build on, and around the world, which we can learn from, and like Eric, I am hugely grateful to the Prime Minister for putting her trust in us to see this vital project through to completion."