George Freeman (politician)

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George Freeman
MP
Official portrait of George Freeman crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board
In office
15 July 2016 – 20 November 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
for Life Sciences
In office
15 July 2014 – 15 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Nicola Blackwood
Member of Parliament
for Mid Norfolk
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Keith Simpson
Majority 16,086 (28.9%)
Personal details
Born (1967-07-12) 12 July 1967 (age 51)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge
Website georgefreeman.co.uk

George William Freeman[1] MP (born 12 July 1967)[2] is a British Conservative Party politician and the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Mid Norfolk. He was first elected at the 2010 general election, replacing the constituency's previous incumbent, Keith Simpson, who had decided to contest the neighbouring Broadland constituency instead.

In July 2014 he was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences, but after the closure of this office upon Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister in 2016 he left the government. Freeman was appointed chair of the Prime Minister's Policy Board in July 2016, but resigned in November 2017.

He is a founder of 2020 Conservatives group and a member of Bright Blue's advisory board.

Early life and education[edit]

Freeman was born on 12 July 1967. He is a descendant of William Ewart Gladstone, who served as a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 19th century,[3] and Mabel Philipson, the second woman to sit in Parliament.[4] He was educated at Radley College and Girton College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in Geography in 1989.

Early career[edit]

Before entering Parliament, Freeman had a 15-year career in biomedical venture capital. He spent most of his career in and around the Cambridge cluster supporting high-tech growth businesses. For the seven years prior to being elected he was Founder and Chairman of the specialist translational medicine consultancy 4D Biomedical Ltd. Prior to that he was CEO of Cambridge start-up Amedis Pharmaceuticals, and before that the Director of Early Stage Ventures at Merlin Biosciences. Straight after university, Freeman worked in Westminster as a lobbyist for the National Farmers Union.[5]

Political career[edit]

Freeman stood as Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Stevenage in the 2005 general election, being defeated by incumbent Labour MP Barbara Follett though achieving a 6.4% swing towards the Conservatives compared to 5% swing nationally. In 2005, he was added to the Conservative A-List and was selected for Mid Norfolk in October 2006.

Shortly after entering Parliament George Freeman was elected Chairman of the All Party Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture. He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Barker MP, in the Coalition Government's first tranche of appointments. In July 2011 the Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, appointed Freeman as Government Life Science Advisor. In 2014, he was appointed Minister for Life Sciences at the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).[6]

Freeman is a co-founder of the 2020 Group of Conservative MPs, where he chairs the Innovation Economy Commission. He has spoken and written widely on the potential of UK science, technology and entrepreneurship to lead a sustainable economic recovery.[citation needed]

In March 2015, Freeman was awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award under the Business Driver category for his pioneering work on The Norfolk Way campaign to inspire entrepreneurial activity and raise aspirations in the countryside.[7]

Defending the use of a Statutory Instrument many commentators described as a means to circumvent the findings of two Upper Tier Tribunals - regarding PIP awards to claimants suffering with a wide range of psychological and medical conditions, Freeman claimed in February 2017 that the legislation was merely a "tweak" designed to channel money away from "people sitting at home taking pills for anxiety" and direct it towards those who were "really disabled". He also claimed that "Having experienced myself traumatic anxiety as a child carer living with alcohol, I know all too well the pain anxiety and depression causes." After his remarks were widely condemned as ignorant and insulting by various charities - he subsequently apologised "for any distress his remarks caused"[8][9]

Freeman chaired Prime Minister Theresa May's Policy Board until he resigned in November 2017.[10]

Personal life[edit]

George Freeman is divorced and has two children.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who's Who. Ukwhoswho.com. Retrieved on 17 June 2011.
  2. ^ "George Freeman MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Mance, Henry (5 August 2017). "Tory activists plan Conservative answer to Glastonbury". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 August 2017. Mr Freeman — a descendant of the Liberal prime minister William Gladstone and a former biotechnology investor — said he envisions the Conservative Ideas Festival as a “cross between Hay-on-Wye and the Latitude festival”. 
  4. ^ MP, George Freeman. "Yes this is my GreatAunt Mabel Philipson MP, first British @Conservatives Woman MP after #NancyAstor. Former GaietyGirl & ardent campaigner for children & disabilities. (Am working on her biography to publish later this year)@ConHistGrp @Women2Win @SophyRidgeSky @ConHomepic.twitter.com/78EhTRDBQ9". 
  5. ^ Armitstead, Louise (9 December 2012). "George Freeman unites science, business and NHS". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Pagano, Margareta (24 July 2014). "George Freeman: Just the man for a matter of life and death". The Independent. 
  7. ^ "Winning the Grassroot Diplomat Award 2015". George Freeman. 15 March 2015. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Bloom, Dan (27 February 2017). "Tory "regrets" comments on £3.7bn disability cut as MPs start fighting back". 
  9. ^ "George Freeman's dismissal of anxiety is pig-ignorance and must be called out". 27 February 2017 – via The Guardian. 
  10. ^ "Theresa May's policy chief George Freeman resigns". 
  11. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (11 June 2016). "Philip Green should remember that with privilege comes responsibility: Tory business minister George Freeman sends a moral message to big corporate chiefs". The Times. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Keith Simpson
Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk
2010–present
Incumbent