Yesterday, Lord Pickles was sworn into the House of Lords after four decades of public service. He was introduced by CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE and Rt. Hon. Lord Hunt of Wirral as he swore the oath of allegiance to the Queen.
To celebrate his ennoblement, CFI hosted a reception in Westminster which was attended by Government Ministers, MPs and Lords, as well as Lord Pickles’s family and friends.
At the reception, Lord Pickles was announced as CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Lords. He joins former Work and Pensions Secretary Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP, who has served as CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Commons since September 2017.
CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE and CFI Executive Director James Gurd said: “Yesterday was an enormously exciting day for CFI as we celebrated the ennoblement of Lord Pickles. We are delighted that Lord Pickles is to become CFI’s first-ever Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Lords, who will serve alongside Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP, our Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Commons. With six decades of political experience between them, Eric and Stephen are among the most experienced parliamentarians, and their longstanding support for the Jewish State speaks for itself. We look forward to working with our distinguished Parliamentary Chairmen and expanding CFI’s work to ensure Israel’s case is fairly heard in both Houses”.
Speakers at the event included Conservative Party Chairman Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis MP, Deputy Ambassador to Israel Sharon Bar-Li, Lord Polak CBE and Rt. Hon. Lord Hunt of Wirral.
The Conservative Party Chairman thanked Lord Pickles for his “phenomenal public service over many years, to the party and the country as a whole”, and passed on Prime Minister Theresa May’s apologies for her absence, adding that she was “delighted to be able to nominate him to the House of Lords”.
Letters praising Lord Pickles’s support for Israel and the Jewish community and welcoming his peerage were read out from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
Prime Minister Netanyahu described Lord Pickles as a “true friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel”, who “fearlessly advocated for the justice of our cause and helped to strengthen the ties between our two nations”.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis said that there “could be no-one more deserving of this honour than Eric, who is an outstanding British leader and a great inspiration for everyone who has the privilege of knowing him”.
Lord Pickles addressed the audience, stating that “Israel is a very special place” and underlining that “it is wonderful” that the Duke of Cambridge is visiting Israel this week in the first ever official Royal visit.
Lord Pickles was instrumental in the drafting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, 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.
He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in May 2015 for his services to local government.
Lord Pickles 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 served as Leader of Bradford City Council from 1988 to 1990.