By Justin Cohen

Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has been named as the new parliamentary chair of Conservative Friends of Israel.

The Brentwood and Ongar MP, one of Israel and the community’s greatest allies in the last Parliament, first visited the country in 1994 and returned in his cabinet role last year.

Community Minister Eric Pickles

Community Minister Eric Pickles

Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles, who left the cabinet to become an anti-corruption tsar, said: “Israel is a bastion of democracy in the Middle East. There are many common ties between our two nations – culture, trade and technology. I am very much looking forward to building on the great work of my predecessors and strengthening the UK-Israeli friendship.”

CFI Director Stuart Polak added: “As a former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Conservative Party, we are pleased to have such an experienced and well-liked figure to serve as Parliamentary Chairman”.

CFI paid tribute to the “outstanding contributions and leadership” of
outgoing Parliamentary Chairmen James Arbuthnot and James Clappison.