Man arrested over threatening phone call to Tory MP Mike Freer

Tory minister has announced he will stand down at next election after revealing he avoided murderer by ‘skin of my teeth’

Kate Devlin
Tuesday 06 February 2024 12:53 GMT
Lindsay Hoyle reveals 'we all get death threats' as he addresses Mike Freer resignation

A 46-year-old man has been arrested after Conservative minister Mike Freer received a threatening phone call last week.

The Tory MP recently announced he will stand down at the next general election after a series of death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office.

He also said that he had avoided being murdered by Ali Harbi Ali, who went on to kill another tory MP Sir David Amess, “by the skin of my teeth”.

Mike Freer said he would step down as an MP at the next election over concerns for his safety
Mike Freer said he would step down as an MP at the next election over concerns for his safety (PA Archive)

The Metropolitan Police said it received a report from Mr Freer’s office last week that he had received “an abusive and threatening phone call” the previous day.

The suspect was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of malicious communication and has been taken to a north London police station for questioning.

A separate investigation into the arson attack at his office in Finchley, north London, on Christmas Eve is ongoing, with a man and a woman charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

The two incidents are not being linked, police said.

Detective Superintendent Will Lexton-Jones, from the local policing team in north-west London, said: "It is vitally important for elected officials and their staff they can be confident in their safety and security, and we are committed to ensuring this.

"Today’s arrest sends a clear message we will not tolerate threats or aggression of any kind towards elected officials. We will deal quickly and robustly with such offences.

"We are in regular contact with MPs and other elected officials and fully recognise the growing concerns they are telling us about their safety, and as you would expect, we have kept Mr Freer updated throughout this investigation including today’s arrest.”

The Met regularly co-ordinates with Operation Bridger, a national policing operation that looks at the security arrangements for MPs.

Last week Mr Freer, who has been an MP since 2010, told the Daily Mail he could no longer put his family through the anxiety over his safety.

"There comes a point when the threats to your personal safety become too much," he said.

After they learned that Ali had watched his Finchley office before going on to knife Sir David to death during a constituency surgery in 2021, Mr Freer and his staff now wear stab vests when attending events.

He said: "I was very lucky that, actually, on the day I was due to be in Finchley, I happened to change my plans and came into Whitehall.

"Otherwise who knows whether I would have been attacked or survived an attack. He said he came to Finchley to attack me."

The MP said he had also received threats from the group Muslims Against Crusades "about coming to stab me" and found "mock Molotov cocktails on the office steps".

Mr Freer, who has pro-Israel views and represents a heavily Jewish constituency, said antisemitism could not be "divorced" from the intimidation he has received.

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