Chancellor Sajid Javid urges Finchley and Golders Green to back Mike Freer
PUBLISHED: 13:08 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:08 14 November 2019
A vote for local Liberal Democrat candidate Luciana Berger is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn, according to Chancellor Sajid Javid.
Mr Javid said voting for any candidate other than Conservative Mike Freer, parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, in the upcoming general election risked handing the Labour leader the keys to Number 10 - and that would spell "disaster" for the country.
The chancellor made the claim while visiting Barnet to take part in a round table discussion on stamp duty involving Mr Freer.
In October, a poll by Survation put the Liberal Democrats on 33 per cent of the vote in the constituency, with the Tories trailing behind on 25 per cent.
But Mr Javid said the Conservatives had a "good chance" of winning the seat.
He said: "It starts with Mike Freer himself, who has been the MP now for almost a decade and is a fantastic local MP.
"I know Luciana personally. She is a nice person, but that's not the point. The point is a vote for anyone other than Mike Freer in this constituency is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
"At the end of this election, there is one of two possibilities - either a Conservative government under Boris Johnson or a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn.
"If anyone votes for anyone other than Mike, they are supporting Jeremy Corbyn, who will not only be an economic disaster for the country, but is also one of the most divisive people that has put themselves forward to lead our great country.
"People should think very carefully about that locally. If they vote for anyone other than Mike, they might as well go and vote for Jeremy Corbyn."
In the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, 62 per cent of the Barnet electorate voted to remain while just 38 per cent opted to leave.
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Nevertheless, Mr Javid thinks voters in Barnet should back a Brexit-supporting Conservative Party when they go to the polls on December 12.
He said: "I think people accept when you have had the referendum - the largest democratic exercise this country has ever seen - it is right for the fabric of our democracy to honour that result.
"Even I find the vast majority who voted remain accept that, but they want to leave with a deal.
"There was a lot of concern in the last few months we might end up leaving with no deal. The government was right to prepare for no deal, but we have now got a good deal.
"To move on as a country, we should leave with this deal - and the only way we can do that is with a Conservative majority. Anything else will just keep this uncertainty going and going, and that is in no-one's interests."
Both Mr Javid and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have pledged to increase public spending after the election to boost economic growth following nearly a decade of austerity.
Like many other local authorities, Conservative-controlled Barnet Council has suffered huge funding cuts from central Government, losing more than £155 million since 2010 while demand for services like adult social care has risen.
The chancellor would not commit to restoring all the lost funding but said the government was "putting a lot of money into local pressures".
Mr Javid said: "One of the first things I did as chancellor a few months ago was put in an additional £1.5 billion, which was what was asked for by the local government sector.
"This is one of those areas that needs constant investment. It is a priority for us, but the only way we can continue to invest in these really important services - whether it's social care, the NHS, schools, or fighting crime - is by keeping a strong economy.
"There is no shortcut to funding these public services. You need a vibrant economy, which means backing businesses.
"There is only one party backing business at this election - and that is the Conservatives."