UK: Labour ‘Outing’ Gay Conservative MP to Sway Orthodox Jews

With just one day to go until Britain's general elections, the respective campaigns have hit fever pitch, will very little separating the two main contenders – the center-right Conservative Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron; and the left-wing Labor Party, led by Opposition leader Ed Miliband.

Given the UK's constituency-based electoral process, despite its tiny size (around 250,000) the Jewish community could prove decisive in several of the most hotly-contested constituencies, including in Finchley and Golders Green, where incumbent Conservative MP Mike Freer is seeking to fend off a challenge from Labour.

A recent poll showed that British Jews were overwhelmingly leaning towards voting for the Conservatives due to Labour's perceived hostility towards Israel, and concerns over growing anti-Semitism.

But in Finchley and Golders Green, Freer's Labour rivals are using a remarkably un-liberal tactic to turn the tide: by "outing" him as gay to Orthodox Jewish voters.

Although there is no reason in terms of Jewish law for religious Jews not to vote for a gay candidate, Labour canvasers were apparently banking on the socially conservative positions of Orthodox Jews causing them to ditch Freer, who is a prominent gay rights activist – an intriguing tactic for a party which bills itself as staunchly left-wing and socially liberal.

Freer, who is indeed homosexual, told the gay news website PinkNews of the moment he realized his rivals were using such underhand tactics, although he admitted it was likely the candidate actually running against him had no knowledge of the campaign.

"What happened is we got a phone call in the office this morning from a lady who said she had been canvassed by the Labour party, she wanted to know if it’s true if I was gay," he said on Tuesday.

"I said ‘Yes, it’s not a secret’.

"Later on, some of my Orthodox Jewish councillors were out knocking on doors – and three residents also mentioned that had had Labour round, and it had been brought up again, and they could no longer support me because I was gay.

"If it’s true, it’s appalling. It’s a sign of desperation.

"I've not seen it personally, but I’d have thought better of my Labour opponent – I expect she doesn't know anything about it."

His opponent, Sarah Sackman, could not be reached for comment.

It would not be the first time Labour candidates have been criticized for taking distinctly un-liberal approaches to woo religious minority groups.

The party came under fire, accused of "selling values for votes," after MPs attended an official Labour Party meeting in Birmingham in front of a predominantly Muslim audience, where men and women were segregated by gender.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195054

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