Jewish MP Luciana Berger loses seat in House of Commons

Berger failed to unseat Mike Freer in Finchley and Golders Green, who, despite not being Jewish, is a popular figure with the local Jewish community.

Labour MP Luciana Berger (photo credit: REUTERS)
Labour MP Luciana Berger
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish MP Luciana Berger has lost her place in the House of Commons, having failed to unseat the Conservative incumbent in the Finchley and Golders Green constituency, in North East London.
Berger was elected to the Commons as a Labour MP in 2017, but resigned from the party in February in protest at the antisemitism which flourished under party leader Jeremy Corbyn, alongside six other Labour MPs.
“I have not changed, the core values of equality for all, opportunities for all, anti-racism against all and social justice," she said in a press conference at the time, "And yet these values have been consistently and constantly devalued, undermined, violated and attacked as the Labour Party today refuses to put my constituents and our country before party interest.”
In September she joined the Liberal Democrats thanks to their anti-Brexit positioning, and opted to fight in the election in the London constituency rather than in her constituency of Liverpool Wavertree.
However, although she dramatically improved the Liberal Democrat vote in the constituency, her stand against Corbyn was not enough to persuade residents of Finchley and Golders Green, who instead backed Mike Freer with a majority of 6,562.
Freer was first elected to the seat in 2010. Since then has shown strong support for the Jewish community in his constituency, and for Israel, making him a popular local figure.
Although he is not Jewish, the Jewish Chronicle listed him 99th in their list of 100 most influential figures on the British Jewish community in 2008.
"The non-Jewish Barnet Council leader and Tory Parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green has worked to build links with the Jewish community, highlighting on his personal profile his membership of Conservative Friends of Israel and involvement in the Barnet Multi-faith Forum," his entry on the list read.
As an MP he has remained a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, taking a principled stance in 2014 by resigning as private secretary to Nick Boles in order to vote against a backbench motion recognizing Palestine as a state alongside Israel. "The two-state solution we all want to see should be the end not the start of the process," he said at the time.
In October, Freer funded and hosted a crocus-planting ceremony in honor of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. A plaque was also unveiled. The event was attended by around 100 members of the local community. Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle he said that he was inspired to hold the event after visiting the children's memorial at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.