A lawyer has apologised for ripping down a poster of Luciana Berger at the Lib Dem candidate’s election campaign HQ before launching into an angry tirade.
Jonathan Metliss, a member of the Board of Deputies, was accused of calling the Liberal Democrat candidate “evil” and a “disgrace” for contesting Finchley and Golders Green, the seat held by Tory MP Mike Freer.
Metliss walked uninvited into Berger’s office and tore a campaign poster off the window while shouting abuse about her for opposing the Conservative Mike Freer” on Friday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Berger said that the incident had been reported to the parliamentary police.
A Board deputy, who did not wish to be named, criticised Metliss over the allegations. “If this proves to be the case, then in what way is Metliss different from those who attacked Luciana in Labour? He should seriously consider his position as a deputy,” the deputy said.
But Metliss admitted to tearing down a poster, which he said was “an ill-judged and regrettable act on my part,” and that he apologised “unreservedly”.
But he added that he “had no idea” the office space was the Liberal Democrat campaign headquarters.
“I went in to tell [a colleague who works in the same building] that he should not be supporting Luciana Berger. I am a supporter of the work that Mike Freer does as the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green,” Metliss said in a statement.
“I had no idea that it was the Lib Dem campaign headquarters, nor that it was being used by their new candidate Ms Berger. There was no signage or any other indication to suggest that it was. Even after I went inside that was still not apparent to me,” he added.
Metliss also said that Berger was not present in the office at the time. “While I acknowledge that my outburst was ill-judged, nobody was harmed or threatened and save for a torn poster, no damage was caused. I have unreservedly apologised for any distress that I caused,” he said.
“Behind this though is a legitimate concern shared by many members of the Jewish community that Ms Berger is campaigning for the Lib Dems in a constituency represented by Mr Freer, a Conservative, who is a long standing and supportive member of the Jewish community and the State of Israel,” he added.
Luciana Berger declined to comment.