Michael Whitney Freer (born 29 May 1960) is a British Conservative Party politician and former banker. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Finchley and Golders Green at the 2010 general election. Freer is a former leader of Barnet Council and a former councillor for the Church End and St Paul's wards in Finchley.
|Comptroller of the Household|
|Assumed office |
16 December 2019
|Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
|Preceded by||Jeremy Quin|
|Lord Commissioner of the Treasury|
26 July 2018 – 16 December 2019
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Andrew Stephenson|
|Succeeded by||Iain Stewart|
|Member of Parliament |
for Finchley and Golders Green
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Dr. Rudi Vis|
29 May 1960
Mike Freer was born in Manchester on 29 May 1960. Part of his childhood was spent in council accommodation, which was then bought by his parents following the Conservative government's Right to Buy policy. He was state educated at the Chadderton Grammar School for Boys and subsequently at St Aidan's County High School (now Richard Rose Central Academy) in Carlisle. He read accountancy and business law at the University of Stirling but did not graduate with a degree.
Freer worked for a number of fast-food chains, including Pizzaland, Pizza Hut and KFC, prior to a management career in the financial sector. Freer worked for Barclays Bank as an "Area Performance Manager".
Freer was first elected to Barnet Council in 1990 for the St. Paul's ward, winning the seat from Labour. However, he lost the seat back to Labour in 1994 and went on to lose in the East Finchley ward in 1998. He was re-elected to the council, for the Church End ward, in 2002. He was unanimously elected leader of the council by his party on 11 May 2006, replacing Brian Salinger as Conservative group leader, having previously been Salinger's deputy.
Following the collapse of Icelandic banks Glitnir and Landsbanki in October 2008 in which Barnet Council had invested £27.4m of council taxpayers' money, Freer was named Private Eye's "Banker of the Year" in its Rotten Borough Awards of 2008. The money was subsequently recovered.
In 2009, Freer announced a new model of local government delivery for the London Borough of Barnet, called "Future Shape" which he stated could save Barnet Council £24 million a year. The scheme has been dubbed easyCouncil because of its similarity to easyJet's business model.
In the 2005 general election, Freer contested the Harrow West constituency in the neighbouring borough of Harrow. He finished second to the Labour incumbent Gareth Thomas, whose majority was cut from 6,000 to 2,000.
On 15 June 2017, Freer was appointed by the Chief Whip Gavin Williamson to the Whips Office as Assistant Government Whip. He was later promoted to serve as a Lord Commissioner within the Whips Office in July 2018.
In the House of Commons he has sat on the Work and Pensions Committee, the Scottish Affairs Committee and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee.
Freer is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI). Although he is not Jewish, The Jewish Chronicle in 2008 ranked him 99th in its list of 100 most powerful influences on the Jewish community. In 2014, Freer resigned as parliamentary private secretary to Nick Boles in order to vote against a backbench motion recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel, arguing "the two-state solution we all want to see should be the end not the start of the process".
In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Freer was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.
Freer was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.
He was a vocal defender of the Prime Minister Theresa May after she and the Conservative Party received criticism for her role in the Windrush scandal in 2018. After a constituent wrote to him complaining about the Conservative Party's role in the scandal, he responded that it was nothing to do with the party and that they should not believe 'misrepresentations' from the Labour Party.
On 1 April 2019 Freer was one of fifteen Conservative MPs to vote in favour of a People's Vote - a second referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.
In October 2019, Freer hosted a crocus planting ceremony in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust, which was attended by around 100 members of the local community. Chair of the local Labour party Matt Staples subsequently claimed that Freer had "politicised" the event by not inviting "representatives from across the political spectrum".
Freer is gay, which he revealed to fellow MPs during a speech in the debates over the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
He lives with his Italian husband, Angelo Crolla, in Finchley, north London. He entered into a civil partnership in January 2007. On the eighth anniversary of their civil partnership, in January 2015, they converted it into a marriage.
- "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11776.
- "Mr easyCouncil defends his local government model". The Guardian. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Mike Freer's LinkedIn profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- "Barnet Council Election Results 1964-2010" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- Marc, Shoffman (11 December 2006). "Gay councillor to fight key Tory target". Pink News. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- Marzouk, Lawrence (18 May 2006). "Right-wing coup". Times Series Newspapers. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "About the Leader". Barnet Council Conservatives. Retrieved 3 June 2008.[permanent dead link]
- Lowe, Rebecca (8 January 2009). "Something rotten in the state of Barnet". Times Series. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Mulholland, Hélène (3 February 2010). "Mr easyCouncil defends his local government model". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- "Assistant Government Whip – GOV.UK". www.gov.uk.
- "Michael Ellis". Parliament UK. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- "JC Power 100: The people shaping Jewish life in Britain". Jewish Chronicle. 25 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Kinder, Tabitha (14 October 2014). "Golders Green MP Mike Freer Resigns Role Over Commons Vote to Recognise Palestine as a State". International Business Times. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Tory whip: Windrush critics 'opportunistic'". Independent. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- "The Public Whip — Voting Record - Mike Freer MP, Finchley and Golders Green (24934)". www.publicwhip.org.uk.
- "MP Mike Freer 'threatened at mosque surgery'". BBC News. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
- Wolfisz, Francine (4 October 2019). "Mike Freer hosts crocus garden planting to remember child Shoah victims | Jewish News". Jewishnews.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- Freer, Mike (6 February 2013). "Mike Freer: A gay Tory MP on why he went public". The Independent. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Lamden, Tim (6 February 2013). "Gay Tory MP Mike Freer 'respects' opposition to 'landmark' gay marriage vote". Ham & High. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- "Congratulations! Tory MP Mike Freer and partner Angelo convert their civil partnership to marriage". Pink News. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.