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George Freeman stands down from PM's policy board as it folds

PUBLISHED: 16:39 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:09 20 November 2017

George Freeman MP. 
Picture: Ian Burt

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

MP George Freeman has stood down from his role as chairman of the prime minister's policy board.

But the Mid Norfolk MP said there was nothing controversial about the decision after he and Number 10 agreed to wind-up the board which had been inactive since the general election.

Writing on website Conservative Home he said: “We need to reach out... to the many who have become disillusioned. If we don’t, we will cease to be a national movement of reform and end up simply talking to ourselves.

“That’s why I launched the Big Tent Ideas Festival and the Capital Ideas Foundation to champion the enterprise, innovation and new approaches we need to tackle the most intractable problems defeating traditional Whitehall policy makers.

“And it’s why I’ve stood down as chair of the prime minister’s policy board in Number 10, to focus on my role as chair of the Conservative Policy Forum.”

Speaking to this newspaper he accused Labour of “trouble making” adding: “I agreed with Number 10 in July to review the role of the policy board after conference and last week we agreed to wind up the board and focus on my work as chair of the Conservative Policy Forum on party renewal.”

But his article will be seen as a swipe at the prime minister who he says was “let down by an ill-conceived” election campaign. Mr Freeman also calls for an overhaul of Tory policy to ensure the party survives.

“We haven’t yet framed a coherent economic programme to tackle the underlying economic causes of the injustices which so many voted against in the election ... the rising taxes on middle England combined with falling real spending on frontline public services that we all rely on,” he wrote.

“The Chancellor is right to signal that we need some bold moves to signal that we ‘get’ the grievances. And that we mustn’t embrace “Corbyn-lite”. It isn’t the answer. And risks tempting voters to vote for the real thing.”

He added: “Our Party’s genius has always been its ability to hold fast to the small-c conservatism shared by the British people, whilst harnessing the spirit of the times to tackle the challenges of the times. Disraeli did it in the 1860s. Churchill did it in the 1930s. Thatcher did it in the 1980s. This is such a moment.”

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