Mike Freer stepping down as Finchley and Golders Green MP over safety fears

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Mike Freer stepping down as Finchley and Golders Green MP over safety fears

Justice minister says arson attack at his constituency office last month was 'final straw'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

The Met Police said the fire happened in a shed at the former MP’s office at Ballards Lane in Finchley.
The Met Police said the fire happened in a shed at the former MP’s office at Ballards Lane in Finchley.

The Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has confirmed he is stepping down at the election citing intimidation and threats that have left him and his family frightened for his life.

The 63-year-old told the Daily Mail he feels “lucky to be alive” after escaping a confrontation with terrorist killer Ali Harbi Ali, who murdered fellow Tory MP Sir David Amess.

An “arson” attack at his office last month was “the final straw”.

Freer, MP in the seat since 2010, said his husband Angelo had become “incredibly jittery” after the incident in which Ali turned up at his office with the intention of killing him.

He has long been hailed as a true friend of the Jewish community both within his seat and wider afield.

In a message on social media, he said: “Since my election as MP in 2010 I have sadly had several serious threats to my personal safety.”

He revealed he suffered his first serious death threat in 2011, when the group Muslims Against Crusades told him to “let Stephen Timms be a warning to you”. Labour MP Timms was stabbed by an al Qaeda sympathiser in 2010.

A dozen supporters of the group then burst into an event Freer was holding at North Finchley mosque, with one of them calling him a “Jewish homosexual pig” who was “defiling the house of Allah”,

The justice minister has worn a stab vest when attending scheduled public events in his constituency ever since the incident.

Conservative candidate Mike Freer speaks after winning the Finchley and Golders Green constituency in north London for the 2019 General Election. (Photo credit: Jacob King/PA Wire)

He has also been left fearful of being targeted for his pro-Israel views.

Freer told the Daily Mail that quitting politics would be “a real wrench”, but added: “Obviously your husband or your family’s views have to carry a lot of weight. And when someone worries that, are you going to come home at night? – you have to take that seriously.”

He said all MPs sadly had to accept a certain level of abuse as “par for the course” in modern public life. But he added: “You shouldn’t really have to think, am I going to survive the day?”

Barrister Sarah Sackman, Labour’s candidate in the seat at the next election, said: “I am shocked and sorry to hear that Mike Freer has decided to stand down at the next election and would like to thank him for his years of service to our community.

“We should have been able to face each other in the polls based on our ideas and merits. Instead, politics is now so often skewed by violent language, hate and the dangers of social media. I am determined for this to change.”

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