The rise of power-bro­ker in proxy do­na­tions row

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

The “his­tory of past dis­agree­ments” is a po­lite way of de­scrib­ing the time in 2002 when Mr Men­del­sohn ap­par­ently threw Mr Abra­hams off the ex­ec­u­tive of the Labour Friends of Is­rael. This move has been de­scribed by friends of Mr Men­del­sohn as “an un­avoid­able per­son­al­ity clash — Jon was all smooth New Labour and David Abra­hams was de­fi­antly from a dif­fer­ent age”.

So who is Jon Men­del­sohn? A for­mer mem­ber of Habonim, he at­tended L e e d s Univer­sity and in 1989 be­came chair of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents.

Mr Men­del - sohn has be­come a real be­hind-the -scenes player in the Jewish communit y , f i r s t through Labour Party po­lit­i­cal cir­cles and lat­terly through the lobby pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany he founded, LLM, with col­leagues Neal Law­son and Ben Lu­cas.

De­scribed as half of a me­dia power cou­ple, his wife, Ni­cola, is a close friend of Gor­don Brown’s wife, Sarah, and the deputy chair­man of the Grey Lon­don ad­ver­tis­ing agency. She is also the daugh­ter of Manch­ester kosher caterer, Celia Klein. The Men­del­sohns have four chil­dren, Gaby, Danny, Sam and Zac.

Jon Men­del­sohn is one of the best­con­nected power bro­kers in West­min­ster, ris­ing, in less than a decade, from stu­dent ac­tivist to a ma­jor player. He be­gan as an aide to Gre­ville Janner when the peer was still an MP. As one of Janner’s right-hand men, Men­del­sohn headed the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Coun­cil Against An­tisemitism and the Par­lia­men­tary War Crimes Group.

He be­came a familiar fig­ure in the House of Com­mons, and is cred­ited with help­ing to drum up sup­port for the 1991 War Crimes Act.

In the run-up to the 1997 elec­tion, his po­ten­tial value in es­tab­lish­ing closer links with the Jewish com­mu­nity was recog­nised by the Labour Party, and he was ap­pointed as a cam­paign strate­gist in Tony Blair’s of­fice. But with t he el ec­tion won, where Mr Men­del­sohn might have been ex­pected to seek his re­wards with a Labour seat, he in­stead co­launched LLM a n d b e g a n a ca­reer as a po­lit­i­cal lob­by­ist. In 1998 The Ob­server ac­cused LLM of be­ing in­volved in a so-called “cash for ac­cess” scan­dal, claim­ing that Men­del­sohn and as­so­ciates had boasted of un­par­al­leled ac­cess to gov­ern­ment min­is­ters.

But LLM de­nied any im­pro­pri­ety, and Men­del­sohn rode the storm — suc­cess­fully enough for him, Lu­cas and Law­son to sell the com­pany in 2005 for £10 mil­lion. The sale en­abled Men­del­sohn to take the role of gen­eral elec­tion fundraiser for Gor­don Brown as an un­paid ad­viser.

But this time, might the Mr Fixit of West­min­ster have bit­ten off more than he can chew?

Jon Men­del­sohn in his UJS days

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.