Exclusive: Muswell Hill rabbi selected as Labour candidate in Haringey

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Exclusive: Muswell Hill rabbi selected as Labour candidate in Haringey

Rabbi David Mason will stand in the Crouch End ward after party sources say he 'absolutely smashed it' at a selection meeting on Wednesday.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Rabbi David Mason
Rabbi David Mason

Rabbi David Mason has been selected to stand as a Labour candidate in Haringey, north London, at the forthcoming local council elections.

Muswell Hill Synagogue’s long-serving Rabbi was picked to stand for Sir Keir Starmer’s party in the Crouch End ward in the May election at a Labour selection meeting on Wednesday evening.

One party source told Jewish News that at the meeting to finalise candidates: “David absolutely smashed it, by all accounts.”

Rabbi Mason has been a loyal member of the Hornsey and Wood Green local Labour party for several years, where he has been amongst those in the membership leading the fightback against a once strong pro-Jeremy Corbyn faction.

His selection for the 5 May election is being hailed as another sign that activists linked to former leader Jeremy Corbyn are declining in number in what was once labelled “Corbyn’s council.”

Mason, who has been rabbi at the United Synagogue shul for 18 years, has been amongst those Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has turned to for advice over green and other environmental issues.

Mason had also previously represented the late Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on issues of international aid and debt.

It is understood that Mason, a trained expert in conflict resolution, had alerted the Chief Rabbi’s Office on his intention to stand as a representative of Starmer’s party in advance of Monday’s meeting.

While the United Synagogue likes to steer clear of overtly political issues, Chief Rabbi Mirvis made an unprecedented intervention ahead of the 2019 general election warning that Corbyn had allowed a “poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in Labour.

Although Mirvis also said it was not his place to tell people how to vote, he suggested British  Jews were justifiably anxious about the prospect of Labour forming the next government under Corbyn.

On becoming leader Sir Keir Starmer vowed to “root out” the stain of antisemitism in his party – and sources close to the leader “welcomed” Mason’s selection as a Labour candiate.

There have been other recent examples of rabbis standing candidates at elections.

Emeritus rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree Rabbi Alan Plancey has been the Tory Mayor of Hertsmere, although he never took a political position when he was a working rabbi.

Plancey had earlier been victorious as the Conservative council candidate in Borehamwood

In Salford last May, Rabbi Arnold Saunders stood as the Tory candidate for the local mayoral role.

Previously the late Rabbi Pinter Avrohom Pinter, of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, represented Labour in Hackney as a councillor in the 1980s.

And more recently former Liberal Judaism Rabbi Danny Rich was elected as a Labour councillor in West Finchley.

Ahead of the 2019 general election Finchley United Synagogue apologised for “accidentally” breaching election rules after they invited Conservative Mike Freer but no other Finchley and Golders Green candidate to address teenagers.

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