Mike Freer MP

14 Jan 2013 08:12:02

A quick profile of Mike Freer MP

Freer MikeName: Mike Freer

Date of birth: 29/5/60

Constituency: Finchley and Golders Green

Areas of interest and expertise: 

  • Reducing cost of Central Government
  • Local Government Reform.

Distinguishing career milestones: (including education, jobs, positions and offices held):

  • Reform of Barnet Council (dubbed EasyCouncil)
  • Local Government funding initiatives (Barnet Financing Plan) that informed policy on New Homes Bonus & Business Rate retention.

Greatest source of political pride: (could be swing, legislation passed, involvement in a campaign): Securing criminalisation of squatting for residential properties in conjunction with Mike Weatherley MP.

Political hero and why:

Margaret Thatcher – her ability to grasp what needed to be done, stick to the course and, importantly, connect directly to the public.

Inspiring political quote:

“I will not change just to court popularity” - Thatcher

What advice would you give to a young politician?:

Get your hands dirty with a job in business/commerce and put some money behind you.


  • Do you support gay marriage? Yes
  • At how many weeks of pregnancy should abortion become illegal? As now
  • Should we legalise assisted dying? No
  • At some point drugs like cannabis should become legal? No
  • In, out or reform of Europe? Reform or out
  • Favourite US president? Reagan
  • Who is likeliest to be next Tory PM - Boris or one of the 2010 intake?neither
  • English votes for English laws? No, a UK Parliament for the UK
  • Will America, China or India be the most powerful nation by 2050? China
  • You have to increase taxes on high value properties, air travel or tobacco? Which one? Tobacco

Follow Mike on Twitter.

Read David Burrowes' answers to the Quick Questionnaire.

2 Jul 2012 20:18:25

34 Conservative MPs write to Andrew Lansley to express "serious concerns" about plain tobacco packaging

By Matthew Barrett
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Lansley2On Friday, 50 MPs, including 34 Conservatives, wrote a letter to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, expressing their "serious concerns" with the Department of Health’s proposal to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products.

The letter stated that:

"There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit; no country in the world has yet to introduce it. However, such a measure could have extremely negative consequences elsewhere. The proposal will be a smuggler’s charter. ... this policy threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector, and over 65,000 valued jobs in the associated supply chain. ... Given the continued difficult economic climate, businesses should not be subjected to further red tape and regulation"

The signatories of the letter also expressed concern about the freedom aspect of blocking any branding of tobacco products:

"...we believe products must be afforded certain basic commercial freedoms. The forcible removal of branding would infringe fundamental legal rights, severely damage principles around intellectual property and set a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial free speech. Indeed, if the Department of Health were to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products, would it also do the same for alcohol, fast food, chocolate and all other products deemed unhealthy for us?"

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27 Jun 2012 11:14:11

Ahead of PMQs, backbench Tory MPs make clear their opposition to Lords reform proposals

By Matthew Barrett
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5.45pm Update:

Expanding upon his earlier remarks, Jesse Norman appeared on The World At One, and described the reform proposals as "a constitutional monstrosity", saying the Bill "should never have reached the House  Norman Jesse 2of Commons":

"Unfortunately the Conservative manifesto didn’t contain anything like the commitment that everyone’s pretending it did and it’s a small dishonesty to pretend that it did. What the Conservative manifesto said is that the party made a commitment to ‘seek to build a consensus’ for a mainly elected second chamber. Now it has sought to build a consensus until it is blue in the face and all of that tells us that there’s no possible consensus around the bill. Now, there might have been a consensus around a more intelligently crafted set of reforms but this bill is a total nonsense."

Forsyth Michael NewLord Forsyth, on the Daily Politics show, strongly condemned the proposals:

"This bill, which is being drawn up to satisfy the Deputy Prime Minister, is clearly a nonsense. I think that most people would be pretty outraged at the idea that some grubby little deal between the Conservatives and the Liberals that says we will give you permanent controlling vote position in the House of Lords in return for you to agreeing to vote for boundary changes that will give us 20 extra seats. That is not the basis of which to proceed with major constitutional reform."

SANDYS LAURAA dissenting voice came from Laura Sandys, who claimed on BBC News that an elected Lords would be better able to scrutinise the executive:

"Absolutely not. I think this is an extraordinary piece of legislation in many ways. This is legislation brought forward by a government which actually gives Parliament more power over the executive. We will actually end up with a proper, fully-fledged bicameral system, which will ensure that Parliament can hold government more to account, in many ways ensure that we get better legislation, and possibly from a Conservative point of view desirable with less legislation."


Continue reading "Ahead of PMQs, backbench Tory MPs make clear their opposition to Lords reform proposals" »

21 Jun 2012 14:02:35

Tory MPs speak out against regional pay in Commons debate

By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday evening a debate was held on regional pay. I blogged earlier this week on why I don't think the Government will introduce regional pay bargaining - and the Commons debate last night certainly didn't dispel my theory. After initial pro-regional pay contributions to the debate from Elizabeth Truss, Mike Freer, Margot James, Aidan Burley, and Andrea Leadsom, Guy Opperman, the Member for Hexham rose.  Guy Opperman CommonsHe said: 

"There are two key arguments in the debate, the first of which is economic. Having worked as a legal aid barrister or state prosecutor for 15 years .... It was during that time that I saw the effects of local pay, as it is described, and took into account the argument of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) ... who first contemplated it in 2003 and then forced it on the Courts Service in 2007. As with so many of the right hon. Gentleman’s economic policies, I see little evidence that local pay was a success. I have tried to study the economic argument behind it ... I do not support such arguments, which are obscure at best and have not been shown to work in real terms. Also—surely this is the crucial point—it is not supported by businesses in my constituency, none of which has come to me to press for it."

Andrew Percy CommonsAndrew Percy, the Member for Brigg and Goole intervened:

"In our region, the Humber, we cannot get NHS workers to come and work and have to consider paying them more. A few years ago we could not get teachers to teach in the city of Hull and had to give them an enhanced salary to do it. Whatever the economics, the reality is that we cannot get some public sector workers to come to our region. How we would do that if we paid them even less is beyond me."

Continue reading "Tory MPs speak out against regional pay in Commons debate" »

14 May 2012 12:07:22

The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums

By Matthew Barrett
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4pm update: People's Pledge sources tells me that Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot has come out in support of a referendum

Mike Freer, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, has also backed a referendum. This is significant because Freer was not one of the 81 rebels, but has now come round to the view that Britain should have an in/out European referendum. 

These two new additions to the list of MPs supporting the People's Pledge means 68 MPs - from several parties - back a referendum. 


PeoplesPledge2Following on from their successful referendum campaign in Thurrock - turnout was higher than in the recent local elections - The People's Pledge campaign have announced further referendums, to be held in 3 contiguous seats. The campaign has announced a shortlist of 39 seats, grouped in 13 contiguous triples, from different regions, from which one triplet will be chosen in the next few days, with a polling date set for late July.

Continue reading "The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums" »

12 Jun 2010 06:51:18

Margaret Thatcher lauded in the maiden speeches of Mike Freer, Louise Bagshawe and Nick Boles (who also had a word or two to say about Quentin Davies)

Three of this week's maiden speeches delivered by new Conservative MPs featured particular praise for Baroness Thatcher.

Mike Freer Commons Mike Freer gained Finchley and Golders Green for the Conservatives - a seat taking in much of the constituency represented by the former Prime Minister:

"Those hon. Members in the Chamber a couple of days ago will have heard my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Jacob Rees-Mogg) claiming that his constituency gave the country the first king of England. I cannot claim that for Finchley and Golders Green, but perhaps I can claim that we gave the country the latter-day Boadicea — in one Margaret Hilda Thatcher. In my view, my noble Friend is the best peacetime Prime Minister that we have had. In this current economic climate, we could learn much from her resolve in addressing the economic crisis that she inherited. Then, unemployment and inflation were rising, and our public sector spending was out of control.

"Perhaps the task ahead for our Government today is slightly greater, as Baroness Thatcher never managed to cut public spending. She was able only to slow its growth, yet we have laid out plans to cut public expenditure—something of a daunting task. Like her, however, I believe that we must return to sound money and good housekeeping, and to protecting our cherished freedoms. Throughout her premiership, she remained an active and effective constituency MP, and I shall be fortunate if I achieve a fraction of what she achieved through my campaigns to improve breast cancer screening for local women, to promote infrastructure investments on the north circular road, and for the free schools programme, which are so wanted and deserved by my local population."

Picture 2 Corby's new MP, Louise Bagshawe, also cited Margaret Thatcher as an inspiration:

"My noble Friend Baroness Thatcher inspired me to enter politics. She taught me the importance of ideology—crucially, in the context of this debate, that politics is in its essence counter-intuitive, and that Conservative means deliver liberal ends. On arriving at the House just after the general election, it was something of a relief to discover that, on occasion, Liberal means may deliver Conservative ones."

She also outlined her desire to see the interests of veterans looked after properly:

"If I myself have a political ambition, it is—perhaps I may ask the House’s traditional indulgence for a maiden speech—to suggest a cross-departmental project to my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions and for Defence. For several years, I lived in the United States—indeed, my family are American—and I was struck by the exceptional way in which people treat their troops and their troops’ families. Over there, the Veterans Administration, which has a seat at the cabinet table, oversees all military welfare, from hospitals to low-cost housing loans. There was much in the Conservative manifesto for our troops to celebrate, from extra money for mental health provision to the application of the pupil premium to the children of military families. Too often in Government, however, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

"I am glad to see my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Dan Byles) in his place beside me, for he spoke most movingly in his maiden speech of the need for this House to put Help for Heroes out of business by providing better medical care for our troops. I suggest to him, and to the whole House, that a fully fledged veterans administration might go even further, overseeing all military welfare, from widows’ pensions to mental health provision, and that it need not cost too much; rather, it would merely tie all military welfare together."

Nick Boles Commons Finally on the Thatcher front, Nick Boles, the new MP for Grantham and Stamford, had this to say about his seat's most famous daughter:

"Grantham achieved global celebrity because of Margaret Thatcher. Thirty years ago, she smashed through the glass ceiling in this House, and gave us all a master class in true grit. I pay tribute to her today."

He also had the task of paying tribute to his predecessor as MP, Quentin Davies, the Conservative who defected to Labour in 2007, and did so with good humour:

"I should like to thank my predecessor, Quentin Davies, for his long record of service. He worked hard for the people of south-west Lincolnshire, and played a crucial role in securing the future of Grantham hospital when it was under threat. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I report to the House the shocking truth about Mr. Davies’s recent ordeal. Three years ago he was kidnapped by a brutal and unscrupulous gang. As a political prisoner, he was spared no indignity. He was even forced to sign a statement hailing the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) as

“a leader, who is entirely straightforward, who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country”.

"Last week, Mr. Davies suffered the final humiliation—exile to the House of Lords. We can only imagine his anguish as he protested his belief in a fully elected second Chamber and his scorn for titles and other baubles. I hope that the House will join me in sending our condolences to the newly ennobled Lord as he starts his life sentence on the red leather Benches."

Jonathan Isaby