Jeremy Newmark ‘thrilled’ to become leader of Hertsmere council

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Jeremy Newmark ‘thrilled’ to become leader of Hertsmere council

Former Jewish Leadership Council chief promises 'aspirational green new deal', adding that 'many of our local Jewish institutions are keen to play their role in that work'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jeremy Newmark
 (Image: Hertsmere Borough Council)
Jeremy Newmark (Image: Hertsmere Borough Council)

Former Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark has admitted he is “thrilled to have been elected leader of the borough with one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK.”

Newmark’s elevation was confirmed after the local Labour Group he has led entered into a partnershhipwith the Liberal Democrats in the borough, ousting the Conservatives, who had controlled Hertsmere since 1999.

After the local election earlier this month Labour has 14 seats, up from seven previously, while the Liberal Democrats took nine seats, an increase of six, giving the two parties a majority on the council over the local Tories, who have 16 of the 39 seats, but leaving it in “no overall control.”

In his first interview since he was confirmed as leader of the council, with Lib Dem Group chief Paul Richards made deputy, Newmark told Jewish News: “I’m thrilled to have been elected as leader of the borough with one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK.

“More than one-in-six Hertsmere residents are members of the Jewish community.

“I’ve promised to deliver an aspirational green new deal for Hertsmere and I know that many of our local Jewish institutions are keen to play their role in that work. Of course the borough is home to a range of diverse communities and my administration will prioritise positive and harmonious relations between them.”

Newmark was formerly chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, before resigning due to ill health in 2013. He was also previously chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, but later resigned.

His career in politics has flourished again after his control of the local Labour Group has led to an upturn in their fortunes in the borough, following the demise of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

On Monday his wife Rebecca Challice, also a local Labour councillor, was elected as mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood.

Newmark told Jewish News: “I’m proud that one of our first acts has been to appoint Hertsmere’s first out LGBTQ+ mayor, who will be prioritising new Holocaust education initiatives in the borough over the next year.

“We’ll be taking forward work on the recent all-party resolution to build links between our local creative industry and partners in Israel through Elstree Film Studios which is a Council owned public asset. We are looking forward to welcoming Maccabi Shoham Football Club to the borough over the summer for a joint training camp and match at Boreham Wood Football Club.”

Addressing plans for the future in the borough, Newmark promised:”More generally, together with my cabinet we have big plans for Hertsmere – action on sustainability, transport and health improvements, a new, resident led local development plan, strengthened enforcement functions and, critically, urgent action to address the lack of local affordable housing in the borough.

“We’ve already hit the ground running and are looking forward to delivering for local people over the next four years.”

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