Resignation Over Finances: Ex-Minister George Freeman’s Mortgage Dilemma

Resignation Over Finances: Ex-Minister George Freeman's Mortgage Dilemma

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – A former Tory minister said he resigned from the role because he could not afford his mortgage on a compensation of almost £120,000 a year.

George Freeman, who quit as science minister in Rishi Sunak’s November reshuffle, expressed he “simply could not afford” his monthly expenses after they rose from £800 to £2,000.

MPs are settled £86,584 a year, with an extra £31,680 for those promoted as ministers of state.

It means Mr Freeman would have been paid £118,264 per year before quitting. But despite the figure making him one of the UK’s highest earners, the Tory MP authored on his blog that a sharp gain in mortgage payments was part of the reason he stepped down.


“I was so exhausted, bust and depressed that I was starting to lose the irrepressible spirit of optimism, endeavor, teamwork & progress, which are the fundamentals of human achievement,” Mr Freeman stated.

He added: “And because my mortgage rises this month from £800 pcm to £2,000, which I simply couldn’t afford to pay on a ministerial salary.”

Mr Freeman held several ministerial posts in successive Conservative governments and accepted severance payments after departing.

He received £7,920 when he resigned from Boris Johnson’s government in July 2022 before returning to his role as science minister under Mr Sunak 16 weeks later, according to Labour analysis.

Ministers under age 65 are permitted to a loss-of-office payment amounting to a quarter of their ministerial compensation if they leave their role and are not assigned to a new one within three weeks. 

Mr. Freeman lashed out at what he called “political economy 2.0”, expressing that Britain is “in danger of making politics something only Hedge Funder Donors, young spin doctors and failed trade unionists can afford to do.”

Leaving his government role will let the MP, who spent more than a decade in the life sciences and technology sectors before joining parliament, take on lucrative jobs beyond parliament, as long as they are backed by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) watchdog.

Further, He added that his children “have paid a very high price” for his profession choice.

“Government is a cruel mistress. Modern politics is a savage playground,” he said.

Mr. Freeman also told The New Statesman on Monday his finances “are not what they were – at all,” having gone through “an excruciating divorce” and with parents “who are both getting elderly.”

“It’s time to… (prioritize) the things that I feel, rather painfully personally, that I’ve had to neglect,” he told the magazine.

“As my (second) wife said the other day, I’m not 26, 36, or 46. I’m now 56. Nearly 57. Three stone overweight, 30 years poorer.”

Interest rates spiked in the UK, pursuing Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s fatal so-called mini-budget in September 2022. Many homeowners face steep increases in monthly mortgage payments as they come off fixed-rate deals.

Bank of England’s interest rate hikes have also driven them up to control spiraling inflation.

Signals that inflation is returning to the Bank’s target and that interest rates can begin falling this year have led to lenders offering more affordable mortgages. But those encountering renewal this year will still pay around £400 a month more on average than they were.

Moreover, The Mid Norfolk MP conveyed he has championed science and technology since he was elected 13 years ago, carrying five ministerial posts under four prime ministers.

And in his blog post on Friday, he vowed to use the build-up to this year’s general election to “share and inform the policymakers working on the manifestos across Westminster.”

He said he would stand for re-election at the general election this year, but said: “It looks very like that we’re going to have a Labour government.”

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The Conservative Party had “been through a volcanic period of turmoil” and “has not looked like a party of unified commitment to purposive renewable,” Mr Freeman stated.

The PM’s official spokesman said: “It’s right that we ensure that ministerial pay reflects the wider fiscal situation.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.