My Commitment to Mental Health

George Freeman Profile in The Times

1st March 2017

In recent days some people have sought to question my commitment to Mental Health. Having spent most of my adult life working on and campaigning for better healthcare and treatment for all patients, I am deeply saddened that two words from a wide-ranging interview have been taken wholly out of context and misrepresented to suggest I believe something which I manifestly do not.

In fact, having experienced first-hand the traumatic effect of anxiety, depression and the often-associated addictions like alcoholism that go with it, I am personally deeply committed to helping tackle Mental Health issues and those who too often suffer in silence. I am very proud of the initiatives I launched when Minister for Digital Health and my work with charities such as Big White Wall, the National Association of Children of Alcoholics and the Child Stammering Centre, as well as my work locally and nationally to help those suffering from Dementia and its huge social and economic impact on sufferers, carers, families and communities.

However, I hugely regret if my comment inadvertently caused any offence which was not intended. In highlighting the purpose of PIPs (Personal Independence Payments) and the Government’s intent to ensure those monies are focused on those with the most acute extra cost of living with disabilities such as blindness or dialysis, I was in NO way seeking to stigmatise less immediately costly but equally painful and debilitating mental illnesses.

From my own personal experience and my twenty years working in medical research, I have always been 100% committed to tackling Mental Health. As a former Health Minister and now Chair of the PM's Policy Board, I am proud of our Party's commitment to Mental Health and our ongoing work in this vitally important area of 21st-century healthcare.

George Freeman MP


George in Westminster

Campaigning for a new model for rail

Five years ago, in an essay for the Respublica think tank, I argued that we would never build a 21stC economy on 19thC infrastructure. Read more





Brexit - PM's Statement on Article 50

George Freeman calls for a One Nation Brexit for the 48% as well as the 52%

UK EU Flag

Speaking in the House of Commons

9th March 2017

Speaking in the House of Commons after the Prime Minister's statement on Article 50, George Freeman calls on the Government to redouble our commitment to domestic reform which is so key to industry, skills and infrastructure necessary for our post-Brexit economic prosperity and unity needed to succeed.

May I congratulate the Prime Minister on the cool, constructive clarity and conviction that she has brought to this momentous period in British politics, and on her commitment today to negotiate a One Nation Brexit on behalf of everyone in all parts of this country—the 48% as well as the 52%?
Does she agree that we must also redouble our commitment to our programme reforms - our Industrial Strategy to support the innovation, infrastructure and skills which are so key to both our post-Brexit economic prosperity and for the spirit of unity of national purpose we will need to succeed?
Does she agree with me that the call to arms in her excellent letter to Mr Tusk:

“The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us" applies every bit to the different parties in this House as well, and that we should reject the shrill voices of Scottish and English nationalism to ensure that we pull together, not pull apart?


My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The question people responded to in the referendum was about leaving the European Union, but I believe the vote to leave was also a vote for wider change in this country. That is why it is so important that we put forward and deliver our plan for Britain, for a stronger, fairer society for all—a country that really does work for everyone. It is important that right now we pull together and recognise that the task ahead is to ensure we get the right result for the whole of the United Kingdom.

| Hansard

George Freeman – Statement on Westminster attack

George Freeman speaking in the House of Commons, 23rd March 2017

23rd March 2017

Yesterday people from left and right and of all faiths – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh – gathered in sanctuary in Westminster Abbey surrounded by the luminaries of British politics and cultural life and prayed for peace and respect for the values we share.

Far from dividing us all, the events yesterday literally – physically, politically intellectually – brought us together and strengthened not weakened our resolve.

It was Britain at its absolute best: multi-faith, sharing core values of belief in British free speech and Parliament and democracy.

It is important that we remember and remind people that this wasn’t an act of faith. It was an act of cowardly murder in the name of a distortion of faith.  The best way for us to defeat such extremism is to live in a multi-faith society and share our commitment to defend these values that unite us.

In her combination of calm, dignified British understatement, with her evident sense of personal commitment and responsibility to defend the values that are at the heart of her politics, the Prime Minister spoke for, and helped bring together, our whole nation.

In terms of the security implications, we must await the results of the police investigations. But as the dust settles, I think we need to put into perspective what this was. It was an act of murder by a lone fanatic who mowed down innocent children and bystanders, but failed to get a vehicle into the precinct of Parliament, and then tried to run amok himself and was stopped and shot. The tragedy is that in doing it he was able to kill a very brave police officer. We are rightly paying tribute to him today, and to the innocent bystanders caught up in this attack. 

But in terms of national security, it was not a sophisticated, coordinated act of terrorism. It was not a 9/11 or 7/7 type attack - and it is a testament to our police and intelligence services that we haven’t had any such attacks.

Our response must be proportionate. The truth is that anybody can drive a car down a pavement and mow down pedestrians. That he did is a sign of his distorted and warped fanaticism.  No amount of reasonable security can prevent that. 

As the Prime Minister said, we must not and will not allow acts of terror like this to change our commitment to an open society and parliamentary democracy. Our Parliament is admired around the world because it stands for these values.  And so must we.


George’s Question in the House of Commons
George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con):

I thank the Prime Minister for the tone with which she has reacted. She has genuinely spoken for the nation in this moment. Yesterday, many of us from the House were gathered in Westminster Abbey, in lockdown. In a stunning moment, people from left and right, of the Muslim, Hindu, and Christian faiths and of none, gathered in Westminster Abbey, in sanctuary, surrounded by luminaries of our political past, of left and right. I support others who reminded us today that what happened was not an act of faith, but the distortion of faith and that, in the strength of all our faiths coming together in this country, we will defend the values we cherish.

The Prime Minister:
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That shows the importance of all our faiths working together, recognising the values we share. As he says, this act of terror was not an act of faith. A perversion—a warped ideology—leads to such acts of terrorism, and it will not prevail.


Tribute to Jo Cox MP

Jo Cox MP

This afternoon Parliament gathers to pay tribute to Jo Cox MP - Member of Parliament for Batley, so horrifically murdered last week by a fanatic who it seems had targeted her because of her political beliefs and brutally attacked her whilst she was going about her duty as a constituency MP.

Her death has rightly shocked the nation, and the world.

Sadly, owing to a long pre-arranged Rally for RemaIN in Manchester today - which I know Jo would have wanted us to hold - I am unable to be in the House this afternoon with fellow MPs to join the special Parliamentary session and Memorial service for Jo.


I’m not currently an MP, as Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election. This website will not be updated during the election campaign and is for reference of my work when I was a Member of Parliament.


29th September 2016 Theresa May's big thinker - an interview with George Freeman. by George Eaton | New Statesman

5th July 2016 It’s all about economic confidence and leadership now, so I'm backing Theresa May to be Prime Minister. by George Freeman | The Telegraph

22nd June 2016 Jo Cox was the flag carrier of a new generation of MPs. by George Freeman | The Times

Times Higher Education

7th March 2016 Ban academics talking to ministers? We should train them to do it. by Ben Goldacre| Times Higher Education

The House interview: George Freeman MP

11th March 2016 George is interviewed by Liz Bates of The House magazine. | Read more