Luke Akehurst

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Luke Akehurst, right wing Labour Party activist and candidate, Israel lobbyist and Director of We Believe in Israel a project of BICOM

Luke Akehurst is the Director of We Believe in Israel a project of the pro Israel campaign group BICOM. Akehurst has been a Labour Party activist since 1988, and a staunch Blairite.

Education

Akehurst attended Kent College 1983 – 1990 and gained a BSc, Politics from the University of Bristol 1990 – 1993.[1]

Labour Party

He was National Secretary of Labour Students 1995-6[2]; Organiser, Holborn & St Pancras CLP The Labour Party September 1996 – January 1998[1]; Full-time Agent for Rt Hon Frank Dobson MP in the 1997 General Election[3];Labour Group Political Assistant London Borough of Hackney February 1998 – June 2000[1]; Parliamentary candidate for Aldershot (2001) and Castle Point (2005), and from 2002, has been Hackney Councillor (Chatham Ward) and chief whip of Labour in the London borough 2002-9. Member of Labour’s NEC 2010-2012.[2]

Akehurst stepped down as a councillor at the local elections in May 2014, one of 18 Labour councillors in Hackney to do so. He was reportedly moving to Oxford with his family.[4] Akehurst hinted on a LabourList blog that his departure from politics was not permanent, writing that he had 'perhaps temporarily' left 'public office'.[5]

Lobbyist

Akehurst was employed for five months as a Press Officer in the London Borough of Lewisham (June 2000 – October 2000)[1] before taking up a job with the lobbying firm Weber Shandwick Public Affairs.[1] 2007 was his 'first full year as a director of Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, having risen through the company since joining in 2000'. In 2008 he was named 'UK consultant of the year' at the 2008 Public Affairs News Awards.[6] It was reported then that:

Luke continues to serve longstanding clients such as Balfour Beatty, Finmeccanica and GKN plc with loyalty, efficiency, good humour, political intelligence and an encyclopaedic knowledge of facts and figures. Over the last year, he has won prestigious new clients such as support services giant Serco Group.
He advised Shropshire County Council on achieving its bid to become a unitary council, and advised Devon and Suffolk County Councils on their successful campaigns, against the political odds, to fend off unitary bids by Exeter and Ipswich. Luke is often found offering counsel and tactical and strategic insight at the heart of some of the key issues in Whitehall and Westminster.[7]

When he was both a lobbyist for the arms industry and a London Councillor Akehurst still found time to write to the press about Israel, complaining to the New Statesman in July 2006 that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign 'shows an outline map of "Palestine" that includes the entire territory of Israel. One wonders what the PSC wants to happen to the 5.5 million Jews in Israel under this "one-state solution".' Akehurst did not reveal either affiliation in his letter signing it only 'Luke Akehurst London N16'[8]

In 2007 it was reported that Akehurst was advising Hazel Blears in the election for Deputy leader of the Labour Party:

Labour Party chair Hazel Blears is expected to announce her candidacy soon, and is understood to be receiving advice from Weber Shandwick director of public affairs Luke Akehurst.

Akehurst downplayed this, saying: 'I will be supporting Hazel if she does run but it will be in my spare time.'[9]

Israel lobby

Akehurst was appointed as Director of We Believe in Israel, a project of BICOM in August 2011[1]

Blog

He has a Blog[2] which has been spoofed.[10]

Affiliations

Member of Unite, the Co-Op Party and Fabian Society.[3] Active trade unionist for 19 years – including seven years as a member of Amicus London Regional Political Committee.[3]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 LinkedIn [ Luke Akehurst], accessed 5 November 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lukeakehurst, Blogspot.com
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Luke4NEC Luke's Experience, accessed 5 November 2012
  4. Josh Loeb, Labour Councillor Luke Akehurst Stands Down, Hackney Citizen, 17 April 2014, accessed 4 June 2014.
  5. Luke Akehurst, 10 Things I won't miss About Being a Councillor, Labour List, 3 June 2014, accessed 4 June 2014
  6. PAN staff 'Weber Shandwick director Akehurst on road to recovery: Weber Shandwick director Luke Akehurst has returned to work as he recovers slowly from a rare and crippling illness.', Public Affairs News 4 November 2009
  7. UK Consultant Of The Year Luke Akehurst – Weber Shandwick, Public Affairs News, 3 july 2008
  8. Luke Akehurst 'Letters: Betrayed by a logo' New Statesman, July 31, 2006
  9. David Singleton Johnson prepares to blog as Labour race hots up PR Week February 23, 2007 Pg. 2
  10. Lukeakehurstsblog