20 AN INTERVIEW WITH...
George Freeman MP For our April interview, Dispatch Magazine Editor Jonathan spent some time with the MP for Mid-Norfolk, George Freeman MP at his constituency office in Wymondham. Prior to dashing back to Westminster, where George has to spend Monday to Thursday of each week, George gave us an insight into his role as MP for the area. George, give us a brief introduction to who you are, what you do. I am the newly-elected MP for the new constituency of Mid Norfolk. I live in Feltwell, near Mundford, to the SW of Watton, with my wife and two young children. Having come to Parliament after a 15 year career helping start and finance high growth new businesses in the Eastern Region, I am passionate about the potential of small and local businesses in our region to drive a sustainable economic recovery. I believe we need a new model of rural enterprise and local planning to unlock a ‘Rural Renaissance’ with our market towns and villages thriving and vibrant again. Since being selected for the new constituency of Mid Norfolk in 2007 as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC), and in the four years since as MP, I have championed and campaigned locally on the idea of a rural renaissance through initiatives such as The Norfolk Way (www.thenorfolkway.co.uk) which I founded to promote a new model of rural economic development and planning, campaign for improvements to broadband and to local infrastructure such as the A11 and A47; and promoting the Norwich Research Park and the Norwich-Cambridge Rail line as part of an ‘innovation’ corridor supporting high growth small businesses. In Parliament I have been elected Chair of the All Party Group on Agricultural Technology, and as the Goverment’s Adviser on Life Sciences have co-ordinated the UK Life Science Strategy for NHS Innovation, and the UK Industrial Strategy for Agri-Tech, with huge opportunities for our areas. Appointed a UK Trade Envoy earlier this year I am also banging the drum for the Eastern Region Economy and the global potential of our Innovation economy.
What brought you to politics? Love of my country. Responsibility for the world my children are growing up in. Frustation that so many people in our country are being held back from fulfilling their potential. Disappointment at the collapse of public respect for Parliament. As a child I used to look at the pictures of my great great great Uncle Gladstone and my great Aunt Mable Philipson – the 1st British woman in Parliament, and be inspired by their achievements. I still believe that Parliment and politics matter.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about Mid-Norfolk? The decency of its people. The history of its churches, villages and towns. The independence and traditional of self-help of its rural communities.