Elected to Parliament in 2010 after a 15 year career in the Cambridge cluster founding high-growth technology companies, George has served in the last three Governments as UK Trade Envoy, the first UK Minister for Life Science, Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board and Minister of State for Decarbonisation, Disconnection & Digitalisation at the Department for Transport. He is currently serving as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
He previously led the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR).
As Founder of the 2020 Conservatives Group of MPs, author of Britain Beyond Brexit and Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum, Freeman is a leading Conservative voice for a New Generation of Conservative Reform, Regeneration and Renewal after the divisions of Brexit and the Covid recession.
A long-standing localist committed to bold decentralisation as core to unlocking the UK as a Innovation Nation, Freeman has written, spoken and worked around the country through the Big Tent Festival and Foundation to promote new approaches to decentralised growth, levelling up and regeneration.
Freeman has written about how his politics has been shaped by his early life experience of a broken home and family turmoil. Born to jump jockey Arthur Freeman and debutante Joanna Philipson in 1967, his parents divorced soon after he was born and he had no contact with his father until he reached adulthood, growing up as a ward of court. A campaigner for NACOA and child stammerers, Freeman has spoken powerfully about how his experiences as a child career of his then alcoholic mother with an absent father shaped his core Conservative values of the responsibility of privilege. On the 60th anniversary of his father’s Grand National win in 1958, he founded The Bridge of Hope project to help people who have suffered a life collapse have a chance of a job in racing. In 2009 he bought back at auction the trophy his father received as winner of the 1958 Grand National.
He counts 19th-century Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone as his great-great-great-uncle, and his great aunt was Mabel Philipson, the first British Conservative woman in Parliament after the American Nancy Astor.
Educated at Radley College, Oxford and Girton College, Cambridge, he graduated in 1989.
Before and after Cambridge, Freeman traveled extensively in Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, including a 3,000 mile hitch hike from Northern Kenya to Cape Town.
- State should fund gap years, says May’s ex-policy chief George Freeman, The Times, 25 Nov 2017
- Philip Green should remember that with privilege comes responsibility, The Times, 11 Jun 2016
- Tories in danger of becoming an outdated party talking to itself, says George Freeman, The Times, 25 Nov 2017
- Theresa May's chaotic Cabinet reshuffle: Jeremy Hunt refuses job as business secretary as Justine Greening quits, The Telegraph, 8 Jan 2018
After leaving university, Freeman worked in Westminster as a Parliamentary Adviser at the National Farmers’ Union and as founding Secretary of the Rural Economy Group of Parliamentarians.
An early Conservative localist, in 1992 he founded the Local Identity Agency and worked around the UK with local councils campaigning for greater decentralisation, including a project on rural regeneration in County Durham.
In 1996 he sold the LIA to Polecon Europe LTD and returned to the burgeoning Cambridge tech cluster where he began a 15 year career founding and financing high-growth biomedical start-ups:
Managing Director, Transmo Citycard (1996-1997)
Director of Early Stage Ventures, Merlin Biosciences (1997-2001)
CEO, Amedis Pharma (2001-2003)
Founder & MD, 4D Biomedical (2003-2010). He worked around the UK putting together translational medical research collaborations with UK Universities, Hopsitals and Life Science Companies.
In 2003 Freeman founded Mind The Gap: a campaign for civic renewal.
In 2005 Freeman fought the then Labour stronghold of Stevenage with an innovative campaign “Positive Politics”.
The first Candidate to be selected via David Cameron’s A list, George was elected in the 2010 general election as MP for Mid Norfolk.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation)
Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR)
Minister of State, (Minister for the Future of Transport), Department for Transport
Chair, Conservative Policy Forum
Chair, Prime Minister’s Policy Board
UK Minister for Life Science
UK Trade Envoy
Government Life Science Adviser
PPS to the Minister for Climate Change
Freeman was married to Eleanor from 1996 to 2016 and has a son and a daughter aged 18 and 20. They separated in 2014 citing the pressures of juggling a young family, two careers and living apart because of politics.
In 2020 Freeman married childhood friend and RSC theatre director Fiona Laird.
Minister of State for Decarbonisation, Disconnection, Digitalisation, UK Department of Transport (2019-20)
As the Minister for the Future of Transport I led key reforms around:
- The establishment of the new Future of Transport Policy & Directorate
- Future of Mobility Zones & Regulatory Review
- Initiated major policy review of Decarbonisation, Disconnection, Digitalisation.
- Secured No10 & 11 agreement & announced East-West Rail (Oxford to Cambridge)
- Future Fuels: biofuels, E10, Hydrogen
- Joint Air Quality Unit with Department of Environment + Climate Change
- Devolution: liaison with all Mayors & Combined Authorities on Clean Air Zones
- OLEV: Office for Low Emission Vehicles & UK Road to NetZero
Minister for Life Science (2014-16)
As the first-ever UK Minister for Life Science, I led the Coalition Government’s ground-breaking first Industrial Strategy for Life Science, specifically including key flagship policy reforms:
- The NHS 100k Genome Project
- The Accelerated Access Review
- NICE and PPRS Reform
- Life Science Opportunity Zones
- Founded Patients4Data
- Led UK AgriTech Industrial Strategy & establishment of UKTI LifeSci & Agritech
Conservative Policy Forum
As Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum, I was delighted to put in place a major programme of reform. This included:
- Better policy input for members.
- CPF champions for hard-to-reach communities.
- Meet the Ministers FaceTime Live.
- Number 10 roundtables.
We also recruited our brilliant CPF champions:
- Mark Davies, Gareth and Alison Cork on enterprise.
- Resham Kotecha and Myles Stacey leading our work with BAME communities.
- Virginia Crosbie on social enterprise.
- Isabella Gornall on the environment.
- And John Moss and Joy Morrissey on social housing.
During my term as Chair of the CPF from 2015 - 2019:
- Active constituency CPFs are up fivefold.
- Active members are up threefold.
- We now have 306 groups nationwide.
- Our mailing list is growing by 20%.
- 7,000 members are participating in our new policy surveys.