Voters in the UK’s most Jewish areas will get a chance to ask their burning questions to parliamentary candidates vying for key seats over the coming weeks.
Stanmore United Synagogue, Finchley Reform shul and the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association are just some of the locales where candidates are set to battle it out in dozens of election hustings ahead of the 12 December poll.
The hustings have been organised by the London Jewish Forum (LJF) with the support of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Board of Deputies (BoD) in a media partnership with Jewish News.
LJF trustee Andrew Gilbert said the election could prove “vital” for the community. “What is different this time is the number of seats in London, Essex and Hertfordshire that are considered marginal and could swing,” he said.
“Engagement is important. The hustings are always well attended but do remember whether our friends who might be standing against each other will win and lose we want to retain them all as friends,” he added.
BoD chief executive Gillian Merron said: “We call on our communities to engage in every way they can.”
“They are encouraged to attend these hustings to quiz the candidates, they should check out our General Election Jewish Manifesto so they are informed on the issues, they should register to vote by 11:59am next Tuesday (26 November) and they should make sure to vote for the parties and candidates who are most in the Jewish community’s interests,” she added.
A JLC spokesperson added: “This is one of the most pivotal elections in recent history and these hustings will provide an opportunity for our community to engage and challenge those who wish to represent us in the next Parliament.”
Over in Manchester, candidates for Bury South candidates, including Lucy Burke (Labour), Christian Wakeford (Conservative), Richard Kilpatrick (Liberal Democrat), and Ivan Lewis (Independent) will be joined by event chair Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson at the Hilton Suite on Bury New Road from 7.30pm on 28 November.
In Hendon, Clareine Enderby (Liberal Democrat), Matthew Offord (Conservative), David Pinto-Duschinsky (Labour) and Portia Vincent-Kirby (Green) are confirmed for a session at Edgware and Hendon Reform shul from 7.30pm on 2 December with the shul’s Rabbi Mark Goldsmith.
Meanwhile candidates for Enfield Southgate – Bambos Charalambous (Labour), David Burrowes (Conservatives), Parag Shah (Brexit Party), Rob Wilson (Liberal Democrat) and Luke Balnave (Green Party) will be at the Cockfosters and N Southgate Synagogue on 2 December from 8pm.
Another venue is to host Finchley and Golders Green candidates – Mike Freer (Conservatives), Ross Houston (Labour) and Luciana Berger (Liberal Democrats) – with Golders Green Parish Church and Interfaith Matters from 8pm on 4 December.
Over in Harrow East, Bob Blackman (Conservative), Pamela Fitzpatrick (Labour) and Adam Bernard (Liberal Democrats) will give a short address and take questions from audience members emailed in advance from 8pm on 5 December.
BBC and CBS News producer Martin Levene will moderate the discussion while all proceeds from the event will be donated to Harrow-based St Luke’s Hospice.
• For more information about individual hustings, you can visit the web pages www.thejlc.org/hustings2019 or www.bod.org.uk/hustings2019/.