Mr Freer is battling to be re-elected MP for the seat he has represented since 2010 – and despite the best efforts of former Labour MP Luciana Berger, who is standing for the Liberal Democrats after quitting Labour in the wake of the antisemitism claims, he believes the contest will boil down to a straight fight between him and Labour’s candidate Ross Houston. Labour has been dogged by persistent allegations of antisemitism in recent years, with Mr Corbyn put on the spot frequently over his seeming inability to deal with the problem.
On Tuesday, during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, he admitted he was “obviously very sorry” for antisemitic incidents involving Labour Party members, but stopped short of issuing a personal apology.
The constituency has one of the highest proportions of Jewish voters in the country – 20 percent – and, speaking during a break from campaigning, Mr Freer said the message he was picking up on the doorsteps was clear.
He told Express.co.uk: “Antisemitism comes up frequently.
“The sense of fear when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn is palpable, and not just among the Jewish community either.
“Some people think he has not dealt with it because he is naive.
“Others think he has been passively encouraging it to happen.
“Whatever the reasons, it’s fair to say a lot of people are very worried.
”Nor were all their concerns based on the antisemitism claims, said Mr Freer, who was elected with a reduced majority of 1,657 in 2017, down from 5,662 two years earlier.He explained:
“They are also worried about his economic policies, the whole Marxism aspect.”
Ms Berger was MP for Liverpool Wavertree until she quit earlier this year, briefly joining the Independent Group before switching once again to the Lib Dems.
She was subsequently selected by her new party to fight in north London.
However, despite the party flooding the area with activists – and with actor Hugh Grant, a vocal critic of Brexit, joining Ms Berger on the campaign trail this week – Mr Freer was doubtful about her chances.
He said: “Traditionally this seat has been a straight fight between the Tories and Labour.
“I cannot see a way for the Liberal Democrats to win.“
“Although some people are worried letting Luciana through the middle, with the vote splitting between Labour and the Conservatives.”
Mr Freer, a former leader of Barnet Council, added: “The thing is, the Labour vote is holding up.
“Labour’s north London vote is very different to people in the Midlands and the north.
“A lot of my Labour voters are affluent, educated professional.”
Voters in Golders Green and Finchley backed overwhelmingly backed remain in 2016, by 68.9 percent to 31.1 percent – but while Mr Freer did likewise, he said he accepted there was a “democratic” imperative to comply with the result of the referendum result.
He added: “There are people – like the Liberal Democrats – who want to stop Brexit at all costs.
“But I think most people realise we can’t just cancel it.