Tory Mike Freer: ‘A vote for Labour risks two-state solution for Israel and Palestine’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Conservative parliamentary hopeful Mike Freer has warned constituents in Finchley and Golders Green that a vote for Labour risks dangerously undermining the push for peace between Israel and Hamas.
Mr Freer, who is seeking re-election as the constituency’s MP at next Thursday’s general election, issued the warning during a sold-out hustings chaired by Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, at Ivy House, in North End Road, Golders Green, last night.
Labour hopeful Sarah Sackman faced a hostile reception from audience members over her party leader’s decision to vote in recognition of a Palestinian state in a symbolic backbench motion tabled in the House of Commons last year.
Mr Freer, who resigned from a junior government position in order to vote against the motion in October, told the hustings he had been “incensed” by vote.
“I could do nothing that would support a premature recognition of Palestine that would undermine the two-state solution,” he said.
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“If missiles were being delivered onto Golders Green from Highgate, what would I want our prime minister to do? It wouldn’t be to sit there and think, ‘Oh let’s be proportional.’
“I suspect that Sarah and I do not disagree on Israel at all but the key issue is if you have a Labour MP in this constituency, you will have a Labour government and Ed Miliband has already said that he would recognise Palestine within two years and that is the risk.”
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Ms Sackman, a barrister and former South Hampstead High School pupil, publically objected to her party’s stance on the Commons vote last year and reiterated that opposition last night.
“I grew up in the Jewish community here in this constituency,” she said. “I travel every year to Israel to visit my cousins who live in Jerusalem.
“My ties to the region are both deeply personal, as well as political. I therefore believe strongly in a negotiated two-state solution.
“On the issue of unilateral statehood, which I know upset a lot of people in this constituency, I want to say I publically opposed that policy by my party.
“The reason is not that I don’t wish to see a Palestinian state because I do but it’s because I don’t think unilateral declarations are the way we get there. I believe it is through negotiation between the two sides.”