Annual opportunity to reset our relationship with the PM

The annual community meeting with the prime minister, organised by the Jewish Leadership Council, which took place yesterday, has become a fixture in the calendar and offers a real chance for us to talk directly to our head of government about the issues that are most pressing for our community.

It is not only a chance for us to raise concerns and make progress on issues but, crucially, it provides an opportunity to share with the prime minister the unique role the Jewish community plays in British society. 

We use the meeting as an opportunity to look for ways to work together with government and highlight examples of best practice; a show and tell if you will.

This is our best chance, year-on-year, to champion the voice of the Jewish community, bring vital issues to the table and, perhaps most importantly, to engage in a dialogue with our country’s key decision makers.

Our professional team put significant resource into preparation for this meeting, consulting widely with our members and deciding collectively which issues will be raised.

Fundamentally, it is the issues that determine the make-up of the delegation, rather than the other way round.

The agenda for this year’s meeting focused on areas that are some of the most pressing for our community – from rising levels of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, to finding ways to work with the government to fund the true cost of care.

Despite the tremendous support we get from government, issues do and always will arise. Anti-Semitism, for example, has risen across the UK and that is unacceptable.

But exceptional efforts are made by the authorities, at various levels, to keep us safe and help us to flourish.

We cannot take that help for granted. Without the considerable effort from our community organisations we would not be in this position.

We hope Prime Minister Theresa May [pictured] came away recognising that we have community-based solutions to many of the issues within British society.

The social care crisis is affecting millions, yet our members are addressing the need and looking at ways of easing the strain.

Indeed, the meeting allows us to showcase our expertise in various areas and to work with government to address the issues we face. Where we have a best-practice model, be it in adult social care or in mental health, it is right for us to share it.

As a community, we are privileged to have had successive governments – Labour and Conservative – who have been so willing to engage with us.

Mrs May herself came to Downing Street as no stranger to British Jewry. In the year prior to becoming prime minister, she stood with us in solidarity after the Hypercacher attack in Paris and even upheld a dinner commitment with the Chief Rabbi the night before entering Number 10.

This annual meeting is an important  part of the community’s political engagement.

We are confident we will continue to build on the strong foundations of previous meetings, and will further strengthen our relationship with an already supportive government.

About the Author
Simon Johnson is Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.
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