Health was the driving factor behind George Freeman's decision to quit government, the Mid Norfolk MP has revealed. 

Mr Freeman, 56, said he made the decision to stand down from his role as Rishi Sunak's minister for science, research and innovation "with a heavy heart", but he needed time to focus on Mid Norfolk and himself. 

He said: “Working hard as a minister and constituency MP doesn’t leave much time for family and friends or staying healthy, and aged 56, it’s clear to me that the time has come for me to free up some time to be able to look after my core responsibilities: constituency, family and health and wellbeing.

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“As with any busy public service job, it’s not a nine-to-five role but a vocation, and families, friends and work-life balance tend to suffer in the weekly routine shuttling between Westminster midweek and busy constituency Fridays and weekends.”

But Mr Freeman said he had no intention of leaving politics all together, and would contest the seat at the next general election, which must be held before January 28, 2025.

He said his proudest moment of his one-year tenure as science minister was showing the King around the new Whittle Laboratory in Cambridge, where scientists are pioneering net zero aviation.

Mr Freeman's decision came amid Mr Sunak's cabinet reshuffle, which saw high-profile politicians Thérèse Coffey and Suella Braverman also leave the government and former prime minister David Cameron given a peerage, so he can be foreign secretary. 

On Mr Cameron's return, Mr Freeman said: “Given the scale of the geopolitical crises we face in Ukraine, Israel and tensions with China I think his experience and global network after six years as prime minister will be hugely valuable to the PM and cabinet.”