Boris picks Jewish tal­ent for City Hall

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANA GLOGER AND SI­MON ROCKER

THE NEW mayor of Lon­don this week set out sev­eral key pledges that will ben­e­fit the Jewish com­mu­nity.

Boris John­son said he would work to pro­vide more af­ford­able hous­ing, es­pe­cially that of a size suit­able for those with larger fam­i­lies.

Many in Lon­don’s Charedi com­mu­nity, who live mainly in Stam­ford Hill, suf­fer se­vere over­crowd­ing, with some­times as many as 11 peo­ple liv­ing in a two-bed­room flat.

Mr John­son also promised to con­tinue sup­port­ing cul­tural events in the cap­i­tal, which are thought to in­clude the Sim­cha on the Square cel­e­bra­tion.

A spokesman for the mayor added: “The JC should keep watch­ing for fur­ther­an­nounce­ments­fromtheMay­oras he gets to work on his pol­icy agenda.”

He also con­firmed that Mr John­son was keen to meet the Lon­don Jewish Fo­rum.

But on the sub­ject of work­ing with Richard Barn­book, the BNP mem­ber elected to the Lon­don As­sem­bly, Mr John­son’s spokesman said: “Boris is deeply dis­ap­pointed that a small but sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of vot­ers chose to elect a BNP can­di­date.”

Tak­ing up his new role this week, Mr John­son ap­pointed sev­eral Jews to key ad­vi­sory po­si­tions.

Sir Si­mon Mil­ton, 46, out­go­ing leader of West­min­ster City Coun­cil, will be his se­nior plan­ning ad­viser.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the JC just half an hour be­fore his first meet­ing in the new role, Sir Si­mon said: “I’m look­ing for­ward to it. I think I can play a valu­able role in that po­si­tion.”

A mem­ber of West Lon­don Syn­a­gogue, Sir Si­mon en­tered into a civil part­ner­ship with his Jewish part­ner Robert Davis, the Tory chief whip at West­min­ster Coun­cil, in a cer­e­mony con­ducted by Rabbi Mark Winer last year. Sir Si­mon will con­tinue to be a coun­cil­lor, al­though he has stepped down from his po­si­tion as leader of the coun­cil.

He will re­main chair­man of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

Dan Rit­ter­band, 32, cam­paign di­rec­tor for Mr John­son’s may­oral cam­paign, will be head of mar­ket­ing at City Hall. The ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive, who was na­tional pres­i­dent of the B’nai B’rith Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion in 1991, has worked as a trou­bleshooter for Michael Howard and as a mem­ber of David Cameron’s Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship bid.

Stu­art Po­lak, di­rec­tor of Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Is­rael, de­scribed him as “some­body we trust, we work with, and who is well-known to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity. He un­der­stands the is­sues of JC read­ers very well.”

Mr Rit­ter­band, from Not­ting­ham, said: “I’m very pleased, I al­ways said I was in­ter­ested in stay­ing on af­ter the elec­tions. It should be very ex­cit­ing, in the run-up to the Olympics.”

Sir Trevor Chinn will be on the board of a new fund be­ing set up by Mr John­son to raise money for de­prived ar­eas.

Fresh from his de­feat, Ken Liv­ing­stone said he re­mained ded­i­cated to work­ing with the Jewish com­mu­nity.

“My com­mit­ment to cel­e­brate the Jewish con­tri­bu­tion to Lon­don and to sup­port the pro­vi­sion of hous­ing to meet the spe­cific needs of the Jewish com­mu­nity is not af­fected by the elec­tion re­sult,” he said.

“How­ever, I do not have the pow­ers of the mayor and it will be im­por­tant that pro­gres­sive mem­bers of the Lon­don As­sem­bly hold the new mayor to ac­count on th­ese mat­ters.”

Mr Liv­ing­stone’s for­mer deputy Nicky Gavron, who was re-elected to the Lon­don As­sem­bly last week, said: “Ken has made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to Lon­don and has been a great mayor.”

She added: “Of course I will miss him. We had the most creative work­ing re­la­tion­ship and he was able to seize ideas and see the big pic­ture.”

PHOTO: AP

The out­go­ing mayor of Lon­don, Ken Liv­ing­stone, with Boris John­son as the re­sults were an­nounced at City Hall

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