Mike Freer campaigns in Israel for votes in Finchley and Golders Green

Mike Freer is joined by Israel advocacy groups and influential Hendon shul in encouraging former north London residents now living abroad to register and cast votes in December's UK General Election


Finchley and Golders Green Conservative MP Mike Freer is campaigning amongst former residents of the marginal seat now living in Israel, urging them to back him at next month's General Election.

The politician, who is a whip in Boris Johnson's government, is hoping to exploit rules which allow registered overseas electors to vote in the UK for up 15 years after they leave to maximise his support on December 12.

Mr Freer sent a message to the 7000 member 'Brits living in Israel' Facebook group last week suggesting they  consider casting proxy votes for him in the north London seat. He wrote: “As parliament 'washes up' as it's called, I will cease to be MP for Finchley and Golders Green next Tuesday at midnight and I will become the Conservative candidate.

"Naturally I will be working hard to be re-elected to stop Corbyn or a Corbyn coalition of Labour/LibDems/SNP.

"I love representing Finchley and Golders Green and I am hoping to be re-elected."

Mr Freer than gave his email address for those requiring assistance and urged former Finchley and Golders Green constituents to "Think of a proxy vote so you don't have to rely on the vagaries of the postal system."

It is not known how many of the group’s members are former Finchley and Golders Green residents themselves.

Mr Freer told the JC on Monday that he had “kept in touch with ex-pats over the years - not just in Israel.” He added that he had done this, “simply to remind people that they can still vote if they were on the register within the last 15 years and have British citizenship.”

At the 2017  general election Mr Freer  retained his seat, which he has  held since 2010, with a narrow 1600 majority over the then Labour candidate Jeremy Newmark.

In December his most prominent challenger will be the Liberal Democrat candidate Luciana Berger - with polls suggesting a two-horse race in the constituency.

But Labour candidate Ross Houston has rejected claims he is likely to finish third in December’s vote, telling the JC last week: “I don’t think any of the candidates or parties should ever take the electorate for granted.”

It is understood that Mr Freer  had originally intended to conduct a speaking tour of Israel in September - but the planned trip, which involved meetings with 'Brits living in Israel' group members, had to be cancelled due to Brexit votes in parliament.

Leaflets advertising the visit were circulated in at least two synagogues in Jerusalem.

Last month, in an interview with the JC prior to the December election being announced, Mr Freer said he next intended to visit Israel before the end of the year, combining pleasure and politics.

Advocacy groups such as the Israel Britain Alliance have also begun campaigns in Israel urging former British citizens to cast their votes in the general election.

In an email sent by Hendon's Ner Yisrael synagogue last week, members and friends who had emigrated abroad were encouraged to consider casting a vote in the election. The message from Ner Yisrael chairman Jonathan Marriott said both Hendon and Finchley and Golders Green seats were "in the top 10 per cent of marginal seats."

He insisted the shul was "not advocating for any party" and the email stressed "all votes really do count."

Electoral Commission rules stipulate that an individual must register as an overseas elector and then vote in the constituency they last resided in before leaving the UK.

Attempts to abolish the 15 year limit on the right of UK citizens to vote her have failed in recent years.

Barnet Council confirmed an updated calculation of how many overseas voters would be eligible to vote at the next election would be completed on December 5.

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