The Jewish Chronicle

Political row over Newmark


THE HERTSMERE Conservati­ve Associatio­n has called for Jeremy Newmark to “consider his position” in the wake of allegation­s of financial irregulari­ties as chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).

Morris Bright, the Tory leader of Hertsmere Borough Council and a Hertfordsh­ire County councillor, wrote to members of Borehamwoo­d’s Jewish community, saying he hoped Cllr Newmark “will do the right thing asap”.

The local Conservati­ve associatio­n used a register of Jewish households in the Hertfordsh­ire town, which was compiled informally by activists who had noted which houses had mezuzot, Cllr Bright said.

Police are currently investigat­ing allegation­s of fraud against Cllr Newmark, a former chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), after the publicatio­n of an independen­t review into his conduct while at the JLC.

The report suggests that £111,734 cannot be accounted for and that an additional £266,189 merits further investigat­ion.

The letter purported to have the backing of 35 Conservati­ve Hertsmere councillor­s — from a total of 39 — as well as seven Tory county councillor­s from the district and Oliver Dowden, the Hertsmere MP.

Labour Group Whip Cllr Richard Butler wrote in response: “None of the substantiv­e allegation­s against Cllr Newmark were proven despite a year-long process.

“Unsurprisi­ngly, the Hertsmere Tory Group has issued a highly mendacious piece of pre-election propaganda based upon an unbalanced newspaper opinion column about these matters. As usual they seek to avoid debate on the real issues affecting local people and resort to personalis­ed attacks.”

Mr Butler added: “It is particular­ly distastefu­l that, not for the first time, this letter from Cllr Bright appears to have been sent only to Jewish residents. Hertsmere Labour communicat­es the same messages to all voters — regardless of race or religion.”

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