Embracing our future as a scientific superpower

8th November 2017

As we consider a future outside the EU, we need to tackle one simple question: will this be a national identity crisis or a moment of profound renewal?


I believe we face a once-in-a-generation opportunity. To build a country that gives all its own citizens an opportunity to succeed in a globalised economy by becoming a more global nation. But to realise that we must acknowledge the need for major reform. As a Minister in both the Department for Health and the Department for Business, I was too often appalled at how Whitehall departmentalism so often triumphs national interest. This is far too important to get lost in bureaucratic turf wars.
That’s why I was delighted to contribute a foreword to a new report from Policy Exchange called Global Britain, Global Solutions: How British R&D can transform international development, and to be interviewed about my thoughts on the future of aid, trade and security on the Today programme.
 How British R&D can transform international development
Today Programme
In my foreword I set out a new vision for Britain’s aid, trade and security post-Brexit. Public investment in development R&D can be a win/win, boosting global security and prosperity while providing the seed capital to support a wider ecosystem of innovation at home. Britain is a science and innovation superpower.   But for years we’ve neglected it.
It’s time to embrace a global strategy for British prosperity through global aid, trade and security, based on taking our science and innovation into the fastest-emerging markets to drive sustainable growth. Brexit offers the opportunity for Britain to cement its position as a global leader in science and our new Industrial Strategy is a chance to put innovation right at the heart of a national strategy for post-Brexit success. 
If we embrace reform, we could unlock a whole new era of economic growth for British businesses and entrepreneurs, establishing ourselves as one of the leading knowledge economies in the post-Brexit world.
Now that’s a Brexit Britain worth voting for. 
⦁ Read my article in the Daily Telegraph here.
⦁ Read my Policy Exchange foreword here.
⦁ Listen to my interview on the Today programme here (53.57 to  57.40)


Big Tent Ideas Festival

Politics is undergoing a tectonic shift. That’s why I launched the Big Tent Ideas Festival, aiming to tackle the most difficult policy challenges we face. The Festival has now run for two years. This year we hosted our first-ever Leaders’ Summit and brought nearly 2,000 people together for the main Festival across fifty events and eight different tents, discussing ideas to reform our politics, our economy and our society.

The Big Tent Ideas Festival is part of the Capital Ideas Foundation, founded by a group of entrepreneurs to campaign for renewal in the radical centre-ground. Over the next year, we will be setting off round the country as the forum for the best new ideas in public policy. Click below and join us.

Read more:

Big Tent Ideas website


We are in the middle of a Brexit civil war. What is clear is that the existing options will not unite our country.

Chequers has been dismissed by Brussels and is roundly rejected by the ERG. The Canada option was also not designed for the circumstances we currently face. We are a European nation already heavily reliant on the single market - wanting ideally to retain access to the single market without being in the 'political' union.

That’s why I believe ongoing membership of the European Free Trade Association is now the obvious route. It would give us off-the-shelf access to the single market, allow us to take back control of our fishing and farming industries, control free movement and let us negotiate our own trade deals.

Unless we stand up and fight for a sensible moderate Brexit, we risk enduring a #HardBrexit. There is an alternative that we can embrace now. It is time to embrace EFTA.


2nd November 2018 George Freeman: There was much to cheer in the Budget. But now we need an inspiring programme for growth | ConservativeHome

8th September 2018 Without a positive vision for British renewal, Brexit will fail | Daily Telegraph

7th September 2018 People are sick of partisan political civil wars | The Times

19th August 2018 George Freeman: It’s time to choose between a Conservative Brexit or a UKIP one | ConservativeHome

4th July 2018 The 5-year Land Supply is beginning to undermine public trust | PoliticsHome

9th May 2018 We urgently need to turn the NHS from being a barrier to technology to being a champion | The House Magazine

13th June 2018 The time to reform Britain and tackle the generational divide is now, not after Brexit | Daily Telegraph

9th May 2018 We deserve more choice than the hard left of Corbyn or hard right of Farage | The Times

8th May 2018 How to fix the burning injustice that is Britain's housing market | CAPX

18th March 2018 Conservatives need to be as economically bold as Margaret ... | FT

11th January 2018 Brexit is an electrifying moment for renewing the NHS | Politico