Matthew Offord MP for Hendon was this week re-elected as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews at its first anniversary Annual General Meeting.
Praising the value of the group, Matthew Offord said: “This has been a year of huge progress, it is clear to all of us involved that the group is serving its purpose in providing a useful vehicle to connect the Jewish community with Central Government and Parliamentarians.
One of the key areas where the Group has proved invaluable has been in proving briefings and sharing information around key policy areas and facilitating instrumental meetings with groups such as Shechita UK. The Group has also drawn wide support from politicians and has helped hone the community’s lobbying on core rights issues, namely: social care, restitution of property for Survivors, the right and value to a religious education by showcasing our excellent schools, lobbying on child benefit credits and many other issues affecting the entire spectrum of the community.
I look forward to taking the group forward with my colleagues on the APPG and further utilising the Board’s immeasurably useful and instructive 2015 Jewish Manifesto in the lead up to the General Election.”
The AGM was addressed by Gillian Merron, CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who provide the secretariat to the APPG. Ms Merron took the opportunity to thank all members of the group for their commitment and support in engaging with the British Jewish Community on a range of concerns from religious freedom to social activism.
Gillian Merron said: “I am delighted by the obvious enthusiasm of a large number of Parliamentarians for understanding the interests and concerns of the Jewish Community. Over the next year I look forward to helping the group grow, connecting more communities with their representatives, bridging the gap between Westminster and interested individuals.”
Dr Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon was re-elected as chair of the group along with Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill and Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead as Vice-Chairs, Rt Hon David Lammy MP for Tottenham as Treasurer and Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East as Secretary.
The APPG officers were also delighted to appoint a new officer to the group, Baroness Ludford, as Vice-Chair. Baroness Ludford is an esteemed former Liberal Democrat MEP who whose expertise will be of great assistance to the Group and the Jewish community at large. Others among the dozen in attendance included, Lord Mendelsohn, Lord Finkelstein and a Minister in the Justice Department, Jonathan Djanogly MP for Huntingdon.