Lib Dem candidate shaken by Charedi
A STRICTLY Orthodox Jew standing to be mayor of Manchester has been attacked by his Liberal Democrat rival for not shaking hands with her.
Jane Brophy suggested Ukip’s Shneur Odze was unsuited to the position of mayor because he could not treat women with “equal respect”.
Mr Odze avoids contact with women under religious modesty laws, and did not shake hands with Ms Brophy when meeting her alongside other candidates, including Labour’s Andy Burnham and Tory Sean Anstee.
Ms Brophy told the audience at the hustings in Manchester: “Personally, it shocked me. I’m sure he’s a lovely gentleman, but when I met him for the first time he shook Andy’s hand, he shook Sean’s hand, but he didn’t shake my hand.
“I think if you’re standing for a position then religion shouldn’t come into it. I should be treated equally as a woman, as a candidate, as everybody here.”
A man in the audience shouted: “Is that what the Liberal Democrats are saying? Because he’s an Orthodox
Jew his faith shouldn’t count?”
Ukip’s Shneur Odze Ms Brophy responded: “If you’re going to stand for the position of elected mayor, you need to treat people with equal respect. Of course, within his community, that is for their community to decide how to treat people individually, but I’m not from his community and I think I should be treated equally as a woman.” Her comments were loudly applauded by the audience.
Mr Odze told the JC that while some people question his decision not to shake hands with women, “none have yet been so divisive to suggest ‘some’ people have no place in public life. “I’m not sure who else she wishes to exclude from public life but I suggest she start with herself. After all, how can she claim to represent parents of children in Greater Manchester’s faiths schools?”
On Tuesday Ms Brophy said: “I have complete respect for people of all religions, but if Mr Odze doesn’t want to shake a woman candidate’s hand, then he shouldn’t shake any candidate’s hand.
“In a fair and tolerant society, a candidate from any party, and none, all genders, and none, should be treated equally and fairly. And in this situation, I don’t believe I was.”
The election takes place on May 4.