Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has told the Conservative Party Conference that the experiences of his father, who fled the Nazis aged six, had inspired him to fight antisemitism “until my last breath”.
Raab, 44, who took over from David Davis in July, grew up in Buckinghamshire and used his speech at this week’s rally to recall his Czech-born father Peter’s early passage to England to underscore his determination to fight racism.
He told the conference that his father “grew up knowing that his grandmother, grandfather, most of his relatives, the loved ones he left behind, had been systematically slaughtered for no other reason that that they were Jews”.
Raab said his father “never forgot what happened to his family,” adding: “I will honour his memory by fighting the scourge of antisemitism and racism until my last breath”.
A solicitor by training, Raab worked in Ramallah during the summer of 1998 and helped the principal Palestinian negotiator on the Oslo Accords, later returning to the UK to work on the Arab-Israeli desk at the Foreign Office.
Raab, who voted for Britain to leave the EU, has spoken about his father before, most notably in discussions about immigration in the run-up to the Brexit referendum, saying: “I like the fact that we are a melting pot, I just worry about the impact.”
His conference floor reference to antisemitism was expected to be a running theme this week, as Tories take turns to attack Labour over their record of antagonising the Jewish community by perceived inaction over the past three years.