Labour’s shadow culture secretary tours Brighton’s new community hub, shul

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Labour’s shadow culture secretary tours Brighton’s new community hub, shul

Jo Stevens has spoken of a "better" and "different atmosphere" at this year's party conference and the importance of meeting members of the local community

L-R Inside Middle Street Synagogue: Rabbi Rader, Claudia Mendoza of the JLC, Jo Stevens and the centre's CEO Mark Sugarman
L-R Inside Middle Street Synagogue: Rabbi Rader, Claudia Mendoza of the JLC, Jo Stevens and the centre's CEO Mark Sugarman

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens has spoken of a “better” and “different atmosphere” at this year”s party conference in Brighton as a result of the crackdown on antisemitism during a visit to a exciting new synagogue and communal hub project in the city.

The Cardiff Central MP said it was “really, really important” to take time out from her conference busy schedule to join a delegation organised by the Jewish Leadership Council for a tour of the building construction site and the city’s Grade II Listed Middle Street Synagogue.

Shadow cabinet member Stevens told Jewish News: “It’s really important to me that Jewish people feel comfortable and welcomed and equal in the Labour Party.

“At conference I feel there’s a different atmosphere, a better atmosphere.

“But what’s important to me I think is hearing from Jewish members and delegates who are here on whether they feel that there’s a better atmosphere.

“I felt it was very important to come and meet leaders of the Jewish community in Brighton.

“And because of my brief in culture and heritage and tourism I wanted to hear about and see this fantastic new facility that’s being built for the Jewish community, and the community of Brighton and in Hove.”

Claudia Mendoza, the JLC’s co-chair said: “We were delighted to introduce the Shadow Secretary of State Jo Stevens to the Brighton Jewish community and visit such an exciting new development. Brighton and Hove was already a great place to be Jewish with a fantastic and vibrant community but the addition of BNJC will make the city even more attractive for many Jews wishing to live by the coast.”

L-R outside Middle Street Synagogue: Mark Sugarman Claudia Mendoza of the JLC, Rabbi Rader, Jo Stevens

The group, who also included Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl were given a hard hat tour of the impressive site, which is due to open next summer, by CEO Marc Sugarman.

The centre, which has similarities with north London’s JW3, aims to cater for Brighton’s 4000 strong Jewish community and beyond, including a shul and kosher restaurant.

The group were then taken to Middle Street shul at which Rabbi Rader gave an emotional address, asking Stevens to pass on gratitude to Keir Starmer over his attempt to rid the Labour Party of the stain of antisemitism.

“It has been a cancer in the party,” Steven admitted. “I think what Keir has done and the changes he’s made are making a big difference.

Lee Harpin speaking to Jo

“But as Keir says we will only know if that been successful when Jewish members and former members feel they can return to the party. I feel we are on good way down the road.”

Stevens was asked for her thoughts on facing new Tory Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries after she surprisingly replaced Oliver Dowden in the Prime Minister’s reshuffle this month.

“So far we’ve only has one outing together in the chamber and to be fair to Nadine she’d only just been appointed,” she said.

“So when had oral questions the next morning she couldn’t  really answer my questions.

“I believe in not just in words but in actions. So I will judge whoever is the Secretary of State by their actions.

“And one of the things i will judge them on its this Online Safety Bill to make sure whey do deliver world leading legislation that protects the Jewish community an everyone else.”

  • HEAR more on Jo Stevens views on  the government’s Online Harms proposals on the JN podcast this week.
Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: