Former Wales Secretary Stephen Crabb has been appointed as Conservative Friends of Israel’s new parliamentary chairman.

The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire (pictured) since 2005 succeeds Sir Eric Pickles and will make his first appearance in the job at the party’s annual conference next week.

Crabb – who has twice visited the country with CFI – said he was “excited and honoured” to be appointed “particularly in this special Balfour centenary year. The UK-Israel relationship is stronger than ever and CFI plays an important role in this. I am very much looking forward to building on the great work of my predecessors and strengthening the bilateral relationship”.

Theresa Villiers, John Howell and Andrew Percy have been named as vice chairs, while there will be a 16-strong team of officers includes Bob Blackman, Oliver Dowden, Baroness Altmann and Lord Trimble.