A Tory former minister said he quit his role last year because he could not afford rising mortgage repayments.

George Freeman resigned as science minister in November amid Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet reshuffle, and was on a ministerial salary of nearly £120,000 at the time.

In a Substack blog post last week, he revealed the reason why he stood down and said: it was because his mortgage had risen from £800pcm to £2,000, and he ‘simply couldn’t afford to pay on a Ministerial salary.’

He said: ‘That’s political economy 2.0. We’re in danger of making politics something only Hedge Fund Donors, young spin doctors, and failed trade unionists can afford to do.’

Mr Freeman, who has been the MP for Mid Norfolk since 2010, would have been receiving an annual salary of around £118,300.

He held a number of ministerial posts in successive Conservative governments and pocketed severance payments after departing them.

He received £7,920 when he quit Boris Johnson’s government in July 2022, before returning to his role as science minister under Mr Sunak 16 weeks later, according to Labour analysis.

Ministers under the age of 65 are entitled to a loss-of-office payment amounting to a quarter of their ministerial salary if they leave their role and are not appointed to a new one within three weeks.

Mr Freeman also highlighted the toll his ministerial role had taken on him and his family, saying: ‘I was so exhausted, bust and depressed that I was starting to lose the irrepressible spirit of optimism, endeavour, teamwork & progress which are the fundamentals of human achievement.’

On top of his MP’s salary of £86,584, he is free to take on second jobs, subject to approval by the anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

Like Mr Freeman, homeowners are facing steep increases in monthly mortgage payments as they come off fixed-rate deals.

It comes after mortgage rates soared and the value of the pound tumbled in the wake of Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget in September 2022.

Despite Mr Freeman’s pay concerns, Downing Street indicated there are ‘no plans to change our approach to ministerial pay’.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s right that we ensure that ministerial pay reflects the wider fiscal situation.’

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