Tackling antisemitism and improving air quality were among issues discussed by representatives of four parties at a London Assembly hustings for Barnet and Camden on Monday.
But only two of the four speakers were actual candidates — Marisha Ray from the Liberal Democrats and Councillor Anne Clarke from Labour. Neither Kirsten de Keyser of the Green Party or Roberto Weeden-Sanz from the Conservatives were present at the held by the Jewish Leadership Council event. Instead, they were represented by Zack Polanski for the Greens — himself running for the Assembly in West Central London — and Barnet Council’s Peter Zinkin for the Conservatives.
A fifth candidate, Martin Smith for the Reform Party, was in the Zoom audience for the event but complained he had been excluded from the hustings by organisers. A decision had been taken only to include parties where polls showed it could pass an electoral threshold of five per cent — this did not apply to the Reform Party anywhere in the country.
Councillor Zinkin, asked about how his party’s candidate would fight antisemitism, said he had been “shocked and horrified” by the Jewish community’s reaction to antisemitism expressed in the year’s of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, with many people saying how unsafe they felt. Councillor Clarke spoke of the “shame” she felt at what had happened within Labour but was encouraged by the work done by Sir Keir Starmer and his team.
The event was organised by the London Jewish Forum in partnership with the Board of Deputies and Jewish leadership Council.
During the event, media partnered by the Jewish News and moderated by Jewish News political editor Lee Harpin, there were questions about Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan, which was dropped, to extend the congestion charge area over the North Circular Road. Councillor Zinkin spoke passionately on the issue and said if it had been introduced it would have had an “absolutely catastrophic” effect on Jewish residents of Hendon who shopped or worked on the other side of the North Circular. But, referring to the extension of the ULEZ charge (Ultra Low Emission Zone) over the same area, which is due to be introduced in October this year, Councillor Zinkin said: “This can be solved by buying a new car.”
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