The Conservative mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, said he would offer City Hall to Jewish students who were unable to hold events at their own university campuses because of opposition to Zionist activities.
He also said — in response to a frequently-asked question at London Jewish Forum (LJF ) events — that he would be keen to introduce a bus service between Stamford Hill and Golders Green, two key areas of Jewish settlement in the capital.
Mr Bailey was presenting at JW3, the Jewish community centre for London, at the first in a series of breakfast briefings by mayoral candidates under the aegis of the London Jewish Forum, the Board of Deputies, and the Jewish Leadership Council. Jewish News was the media sponsor of the event.
A former special adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Bailey, who is a London Assembly member, said his default position was “someone who wants to learn” before acting.
He spoke warmly of his support for Israel, which he has visited as a member of CFI, and said he would be ready to lead a trade mission to the country if he became mayor. He also expressed support for the proposed Holocaust Memorial to be built in Westminster, and added his admiration for the organisation of the Jewish community which he hoped his own, black community, could emulate.
Mr Bailey’s plans as mayor of London rely heavily on increased policing, he said, and include the creation of a “burglary flying squad”. But asked why he wanted to become mayor, he attacked the incumbent, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, whom he accused of putting his career before the interests of Londoners.
In other remarks, Mr Bailey said that he did not regard the Labour politician, Keir Starmer, as “a moderate person” — before describing his view on the Labour leadership race as “like watching the dysfunctional family across the road: it’s not my business but my curtains are twitching”.
The event was chaired by Gary Mond, a trustee of the London Jewish Forum, and its chairman, Adrian Cohen, thanked Mr Bailey. Future briefings with mayoral candidates are due to take place in the coming weeks at JW3.