Alex Sobel becomes UK’s newest Jewish MP
General Election 2017New MP in Leeds

Alex Sobel becomes UK’s newest Jewish MP

Jewish Labour Movement member wins Leeds seat, on a night that saw the organisation’s chair and vice-chair narrowly defeated.

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Alex Sobel surrounded by supporters
Alex Sobel surrounded by supporters

Alex Sobel has become Britain’s newest Jewish MP after being elected in Leeds North West.

The Jewish Labour Movement member took the seat from the Liberal Democrats with a majority of 4,226 on a night that saw the organisation’s chair and vice-chair narrowly defeated.

Sobel took to Twitter to say: “Massive thanks to all the people of Leeds North West. I won’t let you down.”

But there was disappointment for two other Jewish candidates hoping for a first term. Tory Hannah David missed out for the second consecutive election in Harrow West, while Rhea Wolfson, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, reduced a majority of 17,000 to 4,000.

She said the party has shown that “with a radical, transformative manifesto and a leader who can inspire people up and down this country we can build something unbelievable. I’ve stood side by side with Jeremy Corbyn since day one and now might watch him become prime minister.”

Luciana Berger MP
Luciana Berger MP

Former shadow cabinet minister Luciana Berger, the parliamentary chair of JLM, extended her majority to a staggering 29,000 in Liverpool Wavertree. In Bassetlaw, John Mann, chair of the parliamentary committee against anti-Semitism, won a new majority of nearly 5,000.

Among the constituencies with the largest Jewish communities, Conservative Bob Blackman held off a Labour surge to retain his Harrow East seat.

Despite early predictions of gloom for Labour in Ilford North and Hampstead and Kilburn, Wes Streeting and Tulip Siddiq both won increased majorities, with the latter extending her margin from 1,000 to 15,000.

One of the community’s closest allies, Labour’s Ian Austin, narrowly got over the mark in Dudley north with 18,090 votes, just 22 ahead of his Tory rival’s 18,068.

Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan also had a successful election, increasing her her majority in Enfield North, with 28,177 votes, an increase of over 14% from 2015.

Jonathan Goldstein, Chairman of the JLC said: “I am pleased to see that so many friends of our community have been re-elected. The Jewish Leadership Council looks forward to working with them, and all MPs, in the service of our community.”
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said: “With the uncertainty of the result as it stands, we will await a clearer outcome before commenting more extensively. In the meantime, however, we would like to congratulate the many friends of our community who have been re-elected and elected for the first time. We also note that a number of good friends of our community have lost their seats. We wish them well and look forward to remaining in touch with them and working with their successors in the interests of our community.”
David Ward – who fought Bradford East as an independent after being suspended by the Lib Dems early in the campaign – took just over 3,000 votes to finish in third behind victors Labour and the Conservatives.

George Galloway, meanwhile, was third in Manchester Gorton with 2,615 votes. Labour’s Afzal Khan, who previously apologised for tweeting an article comparing Israel to the Nazis, took the seat.


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