An MP whose office was badly damaged in an arson attack has said similar attacks are “a constant worry”.

Speaking at the reopening of his office in Ballards Lane on Thursday, Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer said he had made changes to his own security following the attack.

Paul Harwood, 42, admitted in March to setting fire to a shed behind the building, but denied his actions were politically motivated.

He was also charged over another nearby arson attack on the same night.

A second defendant, Zara Kasory, 32, from North Finchley, denied the same charges and was reportedly facing trial at Harrow Crown Court on July 1. Judge John Lodge remanded both defendants in custody.

Mr Freer said: “The total cost is about £120,000 worth of work, so that includes things like new windows, bits of the building had to be rewired, obviously new computers, new phone systems.

“One office was completely destroyed, completely melted. Four of our windows at the back of the building, just melted, including a lot of the heat damage, smoke damage – even computers just melted. So all of that’s had to be replaced.”

Asked about the possibility of future attacks on his office or those of other MPs, he said: “It’s always a constant worry.

Mike Freer MP (left) was joined by Conservative party chairman Richard Holden (right). Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

Mike Freer MP (left) was joined by Conservative party chairman Richard Holden (right). Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

“Obviously our offices are fairly secure – it’s very difficult to get in the building these days. The arson attack of course was done at the back of the building – so that’s always a worry.

“We’ve made our offices and our homes very safe, but of course we’re very vulnerable, because one of the great parts of our democracy is the accessibility of elected representatives.

“We can take precautions, but like everybody else, we walk the streets to the Tube, we go shopping like everyone else. So there remain vulnerabilities for MPs, who have to be aware of them.”

Mr Freer said that following a review of his office’s security, additional cameras and lighting would be installed – but he has also made significant changes to his own security.

“I tend to drive to the Commons now rather than get the Tube,” he said, adding that he had also undergone “situational awareness training” and had a GPS-linked device which enabled him to quickly establish contact with the police if he believes he is in danger.

As the court case is ongoing, the MP said he could not comment on what could have driven the attack.

But he added: “I can say, as I’ve discussed it with my family – the motive for the attack is irrelevant. As my husband said, ‘If you’re dead, you’re dead’.”

Mr Freer was joined at the reopening of his office by the Conservative party chairman Richard Holden MP.

Mr Holden said: “I am obviously worried about it MPs’ safety. But it goes beyond the MPs, to our staff out on the ground as well.

“And I think it goes beyond party lines as well. We’ve seen the assassination of both Jo Cox and Sir David Amess.

“This is something I think which all MPs and all parties are thinking about, and I know things can get heated in election campaigns, for example – but I always like to think that my political opponents in mainstream parties are political opponents – they aren’t enemies.

“I think it’s incumbent on us all, where there are things around MPs’ safety and campaigners’ safety, that we work together wherever possible.”