Online trolls have threatened to “burn down” government minister Robert Jenrick’s home over his support for a National Holocaust Memorial in Westminster.
Following a high court ruling on Monday that the Communities Secretary acted properly in his department’s handling of the plans for the new central London memorial, Mr Jenrick told The Telegraph that he was living under police protection after threats to “burn his house down”, while he told The Jewish Chronicle that his family have been facing “death threats”.
A legal challenge brought against the government by the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust argued there was a conflict of interest in the decision-making process for the location of the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.
Mr Jenrick himself was accused of having a “stark conflict of interest” over plans for the memorial outside the Houses of Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens, in a High Court hearing last month.
On Monday, the High Court confirmed that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government acted properly in its handling of the planning application. Mr Jenrick said “baseless and disgraceful” allegations had been made over his actions.
Following the High Court ruling, Mr Jenrick, who is married to the daughter of Holocaust survivors and whose children have been brought up Jewish, said in a statement on Twitter: “The allegations made against MHCLG, myself and the project team by those who seek to stop the memorial were baseless and disgraceful. That I was subject to antisemitic smears for supporting it only confirms its paramount importance.
“There will now be an independent planning inquiry at which the arguments for and against will be heard. As the applicant for the project, I will continue to make the case strongly. This critical project is a national symbol of our determination to #neverforget.”
An inquiry into the planning application opened today after the application was “called in” last November, by the then housing minister, Esther McVey. Following the inquiry, the final decision over the application will be taken by her successor, Christopher Pincher.
The Holocaust Memorial’s location has been controversial since its proposal by David Cameron five years ago. It has been backed by Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, along with the former prime ministers Theresa May, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major, more than 170 MPs and peers, and many faith leaders.
Opposition has come from some senior Jewish figures, including Baroness Deech, who have challenged the location of the memorial, and the Royal Parks, which said it would have a “significant harmful impact” on the area.
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