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Finchley and Golders Green: Election 2010

Labour's Conservative challenger has the shortest odds in the country

    Alison Moore
    Alison Moore

    When the bookies have you listed at odds as short as 1/20 it must be difficult to keep your mind on the job of attempting to enter the Commons.

    But Mike Freer, the Tory former Barnet Council leader turned woud-be MP, is fully focused on securing the constituency with the highest proportion of Jewish voters in the country - Finchley and Golders Green.

    Departing Labour MP Rudi Vis leaves Labour's new candidate, Alison Moore, with a majority of just 741 to defend.

    Some Conservative sources are willing to predict ex-banker Mr Freer could take the seat with a majority in the region of 5,000.

    Mr Freer went down a storm, canvassing in an almost exclusively Jewish street in the heart of Golders Green last week. Behind almost every door he knocked on was a Jewish voter promising to put a cross next to his name on May 6.

    Hyperlocal issues remain paramount. Mrs Pearlman asked about pavements and another neighbour about potholes. One man was more interested in how Mr Freer keeps his suit clean. For the candidate himself, the toughest doorstep challenge was remembering not to shake hands with religious female voters.

    Ms Moore is similarly well-known in the constituency due to her role leading the Labour group across the council chamber from Mr Freer.

    She is adamant that the result is not yet decided: "There are a lot of voters not yet sure how they will vote. We still have a lot of support.

    "The Tory administration running the council has let down a lot of people locally. That track record is the view of what Mike would be like in power. "

    Ms Moore has appeared alongside her fellow candidates at a series of public meetings at synagogues and Jewish community centres.

    Liberal Democrat candidate Laura Edge is the rank outsider. But the solicitor is determined that her candidacy will not suffer as a result of her party's poor press over Israel in the past year. Nonetheless she remains critical of some aspects of the Jewish state's policy.

    Ms Edge, whose grandmother fled Nazi persecution in Germany in the 1930s and settled in Israel, said: "With my background I obviously want Israel to be a safe haven for Jewish people. I just feel some of the things that have been done are not in the best long-term interests of the country."

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