Gove discusses housing and planning issues with Charedi leaders
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Gove discusses housing and planning issues with Charedi leaders

Photographs show cabinet minister Michael Gove listening intently to the concerns of Ultra-Orthodox leaders during a visit to Stamford Hill on Thursday

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Michael Gove has held talks with Charedi leaders to listen to concerns around housing and planning issues during a visit to Stamford Hill.

Photographs show the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary listening carefully as the group outlined priorities and concerns.

Charedi leaders from the Essex-based communities of Westcliffe, and from Canvey Island also spoke out their experiences of moving outside of London and continuing with Orthodox Jewish life.

Cabinet minister Gove was also introduced to the recently elected Conservative councillors in the area, who managed to gain electoral support despite mass support for Labour elsewhere.

A source revealed:”Michael was warm, friendly, and very keen to hear what was said by all.

“At one stage he joked how he would be happy to see our communities moving into his own Surrey Heath constituency.”

Also during Thursday’s visit, the Tory minister was taken to the local Biala Synagogue, where the Rebbe wished Gove a long life and asked for his help for the community.

Gove responded by saying he certainly would like to be of help to the community, because he wished to live a long life himself.

Earlier he also visited the local Beis Ruchel D’Satmar school, where Berish Berger is chair of the governors.

Jewish News had earlier told how Gove had said the “religious freedom and ethos” of Jewish schools in areas such as Stamford Hill who refuse to teach their pupils on LGBT issues should be “respected.”

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary spoke out on the issue after visiting the impressive Hatzola ambulance and medical response headquarters in Hackney, north London.

Gove said of concerns that the government’s Schools Bill could impact on independent Charedi schools: “I think these are uniquely sensitive issues and I’m conscious of the fact that we need to make sure that both religious freedom the ethos of these schools is respected, while at the same time operating within a legal framework that recognises that minority rights are respected.”

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