A UK cabinet minister has said his family received death threats and abuse over his involvement in a proposal for a national Holocaust memorial at Westminster.
An inquiry into the plan, was warned that the site, next to the Houses of Parliament, would become a target for terrorists.
Ahead of the inquiry, Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, revealed he had been subjected to “antisemitic smears” and threats over his role in the proposal.
A high court ruled that Jenrick had acted properly in regard to the planning application. A legal challenge brought against the minister by the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust argued there had been a conflict of interest in the government’s handling of the planning application for the memorial, in Victoria Park Gardens next to Parliament.
Jenrick – who is married to the daughter of Holocaust survivors and whose children are being brought up as Jewish – recused himself from any decisions relating to the memorial after publicly backing the plans.
After the high court ruling, Jenrick told the Jewish Chronicle: “The behaviour of some of the opponents to the memorial has been shocking and disgraceful. The fact that I have been subjected to these smears, and my family to antisemitic abuse and death threats, only shows the paramount importance of the memorial.”
The minister had been given protection from counter-terrorism police after threats to burn down his home, the paper reported.
Jenrick also wrote on Twitter: “That I was subject to antisemitic smears for supporting it only confirms its paramount importance … This critical project is a national symbol of our determination to #neverforget.”
The inquiry into the memorial’s location opened after the application was “called in” by Esther McVey, the then housing minister, last November. The final decision on the application will be taken by her successor, Christopher Pincher.
The Holocaust memorial proposal has been controversial since it was proposed by David Cameron five years ago. It has been backed by Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, along with the former prime ministers Theresa May, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major, more than 170 MPs and peers, and many faith leaders.