JLC North West regional manager Marc Levy provides an update on the important political outreach and community co-ordination that has taken place recently and is continuing to move forward.
The past few months have been extremely busy, as I have been dashing around the country meeting the regions elected politicians. It is now the case that I am regularly engaging with almost 80 MPs, from across the North West, Merseyside and North Wales. For the first time, the MPs are enjoying having the option of meeting with the community in either London or their constituencies. This flexibility is crucial due to each individual MP having their own preference around where is best to engage with the community. Those holding Ministerial or Shadow Ministerial Briefs, Select Committee Chairs or the many Parliamentary Private Secretaries from the region tend to prefer meeting in the constituency. This is due to the fact their time in Parliament is tied up with their important work. That being said, several senior politicians on both sides of the House have still made time to engage with the JLC and our members in Westminster. Backbench MPs whose focus is on their constituency casework may find it easier to find time in Westminster.
The links established in the regions have been utilized by the JLC to table Parliamentary questions on a wide array of issues that affect the community. The issues have been as broad as faith schools to the proscription of Hizbollah.
I have continued arranging Parliamentary Days for our members to have the benefit of speaking with MPs of interest. This has included an excellent meeting with Seema Kennedy MP who is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. She is also the Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Myself and colleagues from the JLC met with Seema and informed her of the incredible work being undertaken by our members.
Several Parliamentary Days have been arranged for CST to meet with the regions politicians. Their recent report has unfortunately shown yet another increase in antisemitic hate crime targeting the community. This is high on the political agenda and I am delighted to have been able to assist CST with their political engagement. Other members including care providers and UJS have also been introduced to MPs with a specific interest in their policies and issues.
More locally, it is always a great pleasure to be able to bring politicians around our communal buildings. Recently, Joanne Roney who is the new Chief Executive of Manchester City Council visited The Fed. Lucy Powell MP visited the Synagogue in her constituency. Further visits to Synagogues, The Fed and King David have been arranged for several different MPs.
Ahead of the forthcoming local elections, it is important to focus on the work being done with the regions Council Leaders. Following the release of the above-mentioned CST Report, all the local Council Leaders were presented with figures specific to their Councils. It is unusual but there has been some change at the top of two major Councils. Meetings have now been arranged to introduce myself to the new Leadership. Through my work in the region, almost all of the main Councils including Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester City Council, Liverpool and Lancaster have adopted the IHRA Definition on antisemitism. There are still a handful who have not taken this important step and I am meeting with the Leadership to discuss taking this matter forward.
Obviously much of the work I do has to take place behind closed doors. However, all the MPs I meet are now delighted to have a firm point of contact to the Jewish community that has never existed before. This has enabled myself and colleagues at the JLC to privately advise MPs and Local Leaders on issues of concern to the community.
Already, my diary for March and April is absolutely packed, as I will continue to be well acquainted with both Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston and the regions MPs.