James Forsyth

Jeremy Hunt gets the Foreign Office

Jeremy Hunt gets the Foreign Office
Text settings

Jeremy Hunt is the new Foreign Secretary, replacing Boris Johnson. Having secured a new funding settlement for the NHS, Hunt has—finally—agreed to move jobs. I suspect it will be quite some time before anyone beats his record as the longest serving Health Secretary ever.

Hunt was a Remainer during the referendum campaign. But since he has become one of those ministers who have talked with some genuine enthusiasm about the opportunities that Brexit might offer.

Having lived in Japan and having family links on his wife’s side to China, Hunt does know something of the world outside Britain. He is also naturally diplomatic. I suspect that Foreign Office officials will find it easy to get along with this son of an admiral.

This is a significant promotion for Hunt. He has also left health with a funding settlement agreed but before the far more difficult question of how to fund it has been agreed which is, in one way, perfect political timing.

However, it is worth noting that the Foreign Office is a difficult office to run for leader from. It doesn’t have the political profile or daily cut through of the big domestic departments and the foreign travel makes it harder to build political networks at home.