George Freeman, a Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk, has resigned from his position as science minister, citing financial difficulties due to an increase in his mortgage payment. Freeman stated that his monthly mortgage payment rose from £800 to £2,000, which he could not afford on his ministerial salary of £118,300. Downing Street responded by stating there are no plans to change ministerial pay.
Freeman, who has served as an MP since 2010, resigned during Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle. He warned that politics is becoming a field only affordable for hedge fund donors, young spin doctors, and failed trade unionists. After leaving his ministerial role, Freeman received a severance payment of £7,920.
Freeman, who has a background in life sciences and technology, will have the opportunity to earn more outside of government. In addition to his MP’s salary of £86,584, he can take on second jobs with approval from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.
Freeman also spoke about the personal toll his ministerial role had taken on him and his family. He described feeling exhausted and depressed, and said his children have paid a high price for his career choice. He also mentioned financial difficulties due to a painful divorce and aging parents.
Despite these challenges, Freeman plans to stand for re-election in the upcoming general election. However, he expressed concerns about the future of the Conservative Party, describing it as going through a period of turmoil and lacking unified commitment. The Prime Minister’s spokesman stated that ministerial pay should reflect the wider fiscal situation.