The Hertsmere Conservative Association has called for Jeremy Newmark to “consider his position” in the wake of allegations of financial irregularities as chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).
Morris Bright, the Tory leader of Hertsmere Borough Council and a Hertfordshire County councillor, wrote to members of Borehamwood’s Jewish community, saying he hoped Cllr Newmark “will do the right thing asap”.
The local Conservative association used a register of Jewish households in the Hertfordshire town, which was compiled informally by activists who had noted which houses had mezuzot, Cllr Bright said.
Police are currently investigating allegations of fraud against Cllr Newmark, a former chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), after the publication of an independent review into his conduct while at the JLC.
The report suggests that £111,734 cannot be accounted for and that an additional £266,189 merits further investigation.
The letter purported to have the backing of 35 Conservative Hertsmere councillors – from a total of 39 – as well as seven Tory county councillors from the district and Oliver Dowden, the Hertsmere MP.
It cited a JC leader which urged that Cllr Newmark “must never again have any role in public life… He cannot remain as a councillor, let alone as leader of the Labour group on Hertsmere council”.
Cllr Bright wrote: “I hope [Cllr Newmark] will give serious thought to the effect this story will have on his constituents in general, and the Jewish community in Elstree and Borehamwood in particular, who remain rocked and worried by ongoing pernicious displays of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
“I hope Jeremy Newmark will do the right thing asap. If not, then at the local elections on May 2 there will be an opportunity for him to be removed by the people.”
Labour Group Whip Cllr Richard Butler wrote in response: “None of the substantive allegations against Cllr Newmark were proven despite a year-long process.
“Unsurprisingly, the Hertsmere Tory Group has issued a highly mendacious piece of pre-election propaganda based upon an unbalanced newspaper opinion column about these matters.
"As usual they seek to avoid debate on the real issues affecting local people and resort to personalised attacks."
Mr Butler added: "It is particularly distasteful that, not for the first time, this letter from Cllr Bright appears to have been sent only to Jewish residents.
"Hertsmere Labour communicates the same messages to all voters — regardless of race or religion."