Sir Eric Pickles has been at the forefront of British politics for a remarkable four decades.
Since becoming CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman in May 2015, Sir Eric has taken the organisation to a whole new level. Throughout his political career, Sir Eric has been a tireless advocate for Israel and the Jewish community, and has joined CFI on numerous delegations to the Jewish State, having first travelled with CFI in 1994.
This February, Sir Eric planted a tree at the Yad Kennedy Memorial in the Aminadav Forest in Jerusalem in honour of his knighthood.
In recent years Sir Eric has served as Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, playing a central role in the planning for a new national Holocaust memorial and Learning Centre.
Sir Eric was instrumental in the drafting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which Prime Minister Theresa May announced the UK would be adopting at CFI’s Annual Business Lunch in December 2016. The IHRA definition is now used by UK police, councils, universities, and schools.
Sir Eric was appointed a Knight Bachelor in May 2015 for his services to local government.
He was formerly the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2010 to 2015, and the Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010.
He was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion in 2015, where he oversaw the delivery of the commitments made in the UK’s Anti-Corruption Plan and at the London Anti-Corruption Summit.
Sir Eric was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, in 1952, into a Labour-supporting family. He became the chairman of the local Young Conservatives association and later the National Chairman of the Young Conservatives, and was elected to Bradford Council in 1979. He became a co-chairman of an all-party joint committee against racism and was the leader of Bradford City Council from 1988-1990.
From February 1993 until May 1993, Sir Eric was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tim Sainsbury MP, Minister for Industry. He was a Member of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee, Chairman of the All Party Film Group, and Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Environment, Transport and the Regions Committee from July 1997 until August 1998.
In September 2001, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for London. He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions in June 2002, and was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from August 2005 until July 2007. He joined the Shadow Cabinet as Communities and Local Government Secretary in July 2007.
Sir Eric has previously worked as a Consultant in Employment Practice and Local Government Editor for Conservative Newsline (1990-92).
Responding to the news, CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE, CFI Executive Director James Gurd and the Directors of CFI said:
“Sir Eric’s long and distinguished political career speaks for itself. From a young councillor in Bradford and National Young Conservative Chairman to Chairman of the Conservative Party and Cabinet Minister, Sir Eric has been at the forefront of British politics for a remarkable four decades.
“Throughout, Sir Eric has been a steadfast advocate for Israel and the UK’s Jewish community. Simply, there is no greater friend.
“As CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman for the past two years, Sir Eric has taken the organisation to a whole new level.
“The whole CFI family would like to thank Eric for his invaluable support and leadership, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavours”.