Safety Concerns and Arson Attacks – The Decision to Step Back from Politics

Safety Concerns and Arson Attacks – The Decision to Step Back from Politics

Government reshuffles are known for reshaping political landscapes, but for Mike Freer, the repercussions of one such change went beyond politics.

On the evening of September 16, 2021, a reshuffle by Boris Johnson potentially saved his life, redirecting him from a potential threat.

This incident marked a turning point that ultimately led to Freer’s recent decision to step away from frontline politics.

Political Career and Threats:

Freer, an openly gay MP and advocate for Israel, faced intimidation, abuse, and death threats throughout his political journey.

A decade ago, the group Muslims Against Crusades targeted him, and incidents of threats, abusive notes, and mock petrol bombs persisted.

However, the gravity of the situation heightened when terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, armed with a knife, targeted Freer outside his constituency office.

Near Miss and Security Measures:

The reshuffle placed Freer miles away from the potential attack, prompting him to reassess his safety.

Subsequent security reviews led to monitored locations, advice to wear a stab vest, and caution about parking.

Even routine interactions with constituents became a potential risk, altering his approach to public appearances.

Personal Toll and Arson Attack:

The impact extended beyond Freer, affecting his husband Angelo, who became increasingly concerned about his safety.

A ‘serious arson’ attack on Freer’s constituency office in December, believed to be motivated by his views, intensified the family’s anxieties.

The incident served as the ‘final straw’ in Freer’s deliberations about staying in politics.

Family Concerns and Tough Decision:

Despite previously intending to stand for re-election, family discussions during Christmas revealed heightened concerns.

Freer acknowledges the burden placed on his partner and the difficulty of sustaining a political career when safety concerns overshadowed daily life.

Social Media and Rise of Abuse:

Freer attributes the intensification of abuse to social media, citing a disturbing incident on Twitter that led him to abandon the platform.

He emphasizes the negative impact of online interactions, contributing to the overall deterioration of civil discourse.

Anti-Semitism and Political Climate:

As a vocal supporter of Israel, Freer criticizes Jeremy Corbyn for fostering a climate of anti-Semitism during his leadership.

He contends that the floodgates opened under Corbyn, making anti-Semitism more acceptable.

Freer’s advocacy for Israel, often mistaken for being Jewish, has been a central factor in the threats he faced.

Future Uncertainty:

Looking ahead, Freer is uncertain about his post-political career, humorously suggesting driving an Uber.

Despite the challenges, he expresses gratitude for the emotional connection to his role as MP, making the decision to step down from Finchley and Golders Green a profound and wrenching choice.

Conclusion:

Mike Freer’s political journey, marked by resilience against threats and advocacy for his beliefs, reaches a poignant crossroads as safety concerns prompt him to step back from frontline politics.

His story reflects the complex intersection of personal safety, political convictions, and the evolving landscape of public service.

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