Tributes have been paid to one of the community’s strongest supporters, who will to stand down at the forthcoming General Election.

Sir Eric Pickles, who is Conservative Friends of Israel Parliamentary Chairman, and the special envoy for post-Holocaust, has announced he won’t seek re-election in June.

The former Minister for Faith, and Communities and Local Government  announced on Twitter he is “Looking forward to the General Election as a canvasser, not a candidate.” He thanked his Brentwood and Ongar constituents “for your support and friendship over 25 years”.

Conservative Friends of Israel Honorary President Lord Polak, and CFI Executive Director James Gurd paid tribute to Pickles’ “long and distinguished political career”.

“Sir Eric has been at the forefront of British politics for a remarkable four decades”, adding that he’s “been a steadfast advocate for Israel and the UK’s Jewish community. Simply, there is no greater friend.

“As CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman for the past two years, Sir Eric has taken the organisation to a whole new level.

“The whole CFI family would like to thank Eric for his invaluable support and leadership, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavours”.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev paid tribute to Pickles. On twitter he wrote: “Wishing Sir @EricPickles all the very best for the future. A true friend of Israel & the Jewish people. Thank you, Sir Eric!”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust paid tribute to Sir Eric, saying parliament “will lose a powerful advocate for Holocaust remembrance”, adding that he’s “been passionate about the need to commemorate the past, remain vigilant against discrimination today and work together for the future”.

The Tory MP was a ex-Eurosceptic, before becoming the founding member of Conservatives for Reform in Europe, which  sought to keep Britain in the EU.