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The Lord Finkelstein

Daniel Finkelstein at Ten Years of Shaping the Policy Agenda.jpg
Finkelstein speaking in 2012
Daniel William Finkelstein

(1962-08-30) 30 August 1962 (age 59)
EducationUniversity College School
Alma mater
  • Journalist
  • Politician
Political party

Daniel William Finkelstein, Baron Finkelstein, OBE (born 30 August 1962) is a British journalist and politician. He is a former executive editor of The Times and remains a weekly political columnist.[1] He is a former chairman of Policy Exchange who was succeeded by David Frum in 2014.[2] He is chair of the think tank Onward. He was made a member of the House of Lords in August 2013,[3] sitting as a Conservative.


Finkelstein is Jewish; his mother, Mirjam Finkelstein, was a Holocaust survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp,[4] while his father Ludwik Finkelstein OBE was born in Lviv (then in Poland but now in Ukraine), and became Professor of Measurement and Instrumentation at City University London.[5][6] He is a grandson, via his mother, of Dr Alfred Wiener, the Jewish activist and founder of the Wiener Library.[4] He is the brother of Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein CBE FREng, President of City, University of London and of Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[citation needed]

He was educated at University College School, the London School of Economics (BSc, 1984) and City University London (MSc, 1986).[7]

Political career


Between 1981 and 1990, Finkelstein was a member of the Social Democratic Party (UK), becoming Chair of the Young Social Democrats on the defection of his predecessor Keith Toussaint to the Conservative Party during the 1983 general election campaign.[8] Subsequently he was elected youth representative on its National Committee and selected as a parliamentary candidate (Brent East 1987), and he became a close ally and adviser to David Owen, the SDP leader. When the merger with the Liberal Party was proposed, Finkelstein was among the leading opponents and refused to join the merged party. After Owen had announced his resignation from politics, Finkelstein was the spokesman for a group of young SDP members who joined the Conservatives.

Think tanks

Before working for the Conservative Party, Finkelstein was Director of a think-tank, the Social Market Foundation, for three years. During his period with the SMF, the organisation brought New York police commissioner Bill Bratton to London, for the first time introducing UK politicians to the new strategies being used there.

Finkelstein formerly sat on the Board of Governors of the Gatestone Institute,[9][10] a far-right think-tank known for publishing anti-Muslim articles.[11][12] In a series of tweets in 2018, Finkelstein explained that he "didn't initially accept the critics' characterisation of (Gatestone)", that he thought they'd done "valuable" work, but that he eventually withdrew from the position due to 'the volume' of Gatestone publications he disagreed with. He acknowledged that his failure to do so earlier was "worthy of criticism".[13]

In 2018 he became chairman of the new think-tank Onward, whose mission is to renew the centre right for the next generation.[14]

Conservative Party

Between 1995 and 1997 Finkelstein was Director of the Conservative Research Department and in that capacity advised Prime Minister John Major and attended meetings of the Cabinet when it sat in political session. Finkelstein became among the earliest advocates of the 'modernisation' of the Conservative Party, laying out the principles of change in a series of speeches and columns in The Times.

Between 1997 and 2001 he was political adviser to the Leader of the Opposition William Hague and, together with George Osborne, Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet.

In the 2001 election Finkelstein was the unsuccessful Conservative parliamentary candidate in Harrow West.[15]


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Finkelstein (right) with Francis Maude, at a Policy Exchange event in 2013
Finkelstein (right) with Francis Maude, at a Policy Exchange event in 2013

Between 1990 and 1992, Finkelstein was the editor of Connexion, Britain's first Internet and data communications newspaper. Finkelstein joined The Times in August 2001 as part of the leader writing team and was Comment Editor from March 2004 to June 2008. He became Chief Leader Writer in June 2008. He began The Times blog Comment Central in September 2006. He is also a regular columnist in The Jewish Chronicle. His weekly football statistics column, the Fink Tank, began in 2002 and runs in The Times on Saturdays.

Honours and awards

Finkelstein was awarded the OBE in the 1997 honours list.[16] In 2011 he was awarded the "PSA 2011 Journalist of the Year Award".[17] It was announced at the beginning of August 2013 that Finkelstein was to be made a life peer.[18] He was created Baron Finkelstein, of Pinner in the London Borough of Harrow on 11 September 2013.[19]

Finkelstein was given an honorary Doctor of Science degree by City University London in 2011.[20]

He is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.[21]


  1. ^ "JC Power 100: Numbers 50 – 11", The Jewish Chronicle. London. 10 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Policy Exchange appoints David Frum as new chairman" (Press release). Policy Exchange. 19 September 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014.,
  3. ^ "Working peerages announced" (Press release). Prime Minister's Office. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Mirjam Finkelstein, Holocaust educator, friend of Anne Frank and survivor of Bergen-Belsen, dies aged 83". The Jewish Chronicle. London. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Obituary – Professor Ludwik Finkelstein OBE FREng" (Press release). City University London. 6 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Professor Ludwik Finkelstein". The Times. London. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2016. (subscription required)
  7. ^ 'FINKELSTEIN', Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2013
  8. ^ The Times Guide to the House of Commons 1987
  9. ^ Zaheer, Mohammad (18 February 2019). "Opinion: It shouldn't have taken a report from outside the Muslim community for Tory Islamophobia to be taken seriously". The Independent. London.
  10. ^ "About Gatestone Institute". Gatestone Institute. Archived from the original on 9 April 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  11. ^ Gjelten, Tom (6 April 2018). "Trump's National Security And State Department Picks Alarm American Muslims". National Public Radio. Washington DC.
  12. ^ Cerulus, Laurens (17 July 2017). "Germany's anti-fake news lab yields mixed results".
  13. ^ @Dannythefink (15 August 2018). "Gatestone Tweet thread". Twitter. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  14. ^ Eaton, George (18 May 2018). "Onward, the think tank on a mission to remake conservatism". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  15. ^ Zatman, Alex (2012). "Shoah memories spur writer Daniel to seek truth and courage". Jewish Telegraph. Manchester.
  16. ^ "No. 54850". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1997. p. 8912.
  17. ^ "Political Studies Association Website". Archived from the original on 29 May 2012.
  18. ^ David Blackburn "New working peers announced", The Spectator (blog), 1 August 2013
  19. ^ "No. 60627". The London Gazette. 13 September 2013. p. 18117.
  20. ^ "Lord Finkelstein, OBE". City University London. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Dame Louise Ellman MP". Jewish Leadership Council. Retrieved 17 July 2019.