Jeremy hunt

Jeremy Hunt should stick to sensible pledges – it’s too late for big moves

Imagine you’re Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, drafting your Autumn Statement for delivery in three weeks’ time. Bookies’ odds for a Tory general election win have moved out to six-to-one (against Labour’s dead-cert one-to-seven) following by-election wipe-outs. The Lib Dems look set to nab your South West Surrey seat if you don’t stand down anyway. And you can’t give your back-benches red-meat tax cuts because public borrowing for this year could run £30 billion higher than forecast. Releasing the pension ‘triple lock’ to save money would alienate older Tories. Inheritance tax giveaways that might please them would be campaign gold for Labour. A stamp duty cut would do nothing for floating-vote home-buyers facing

The problem with Jeremys

Why is Jeremy Clarkson in trouble so often? Is it because he often appears arrogant, entitled or untouchable? Or is it for a much simpler reason: he’s called Jeremy? This week, in a column for the Sun, he suggested a rather unsavoury Game of Thrones-style punishment for the Duchess of Sussex. The article prompted 20,000 complaints to Ipso – more than the press regulator received in the whole of last year – and led to 64 MPs signing a letter of complaint to the paper’s editor. Clarkson has made a grudging non-apology and persuaded the paper to remove the article from its website, but unsurprisingly this is unlikely to satisfy the lynch mob

The lady vanishes: the Truss agenda is dead

‘Governments don’t control markets,’ the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, likes to say. But there are times when markets control governments. The market, or the fear of how the market might react, is now the driving force in British politics. It explains the dramatic developments of the past week and will determine the new Prime Minister’s fate. Last month’s ‘mini-Budget’ was doomed because it required that the government borrow £70 billion more than had been planned. This money would have to be raised in the gilts market, and Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng assumed that the markets would be happy to continue to lend so much at such low rates. But

Portrait of the week: Truss says sorry, Hunt reverses mini-Budget and Kanye West buys Parler

Home Liz Truss said in a BBC interview as Prime Minister that she wanted to ‘say sorry for the mistakes that have been made’. Declaring that she would lead the Conservatives into the next election, she addressed blocs of MPs: the One Nation group one day, the European Research Group the next. She watched Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer whom she had just appointed to replace Kwasi Kwarteng, deliver a statement to the Commons reversing most of the provisions of the ‘fiscal event’ of 23 September. The new Chancellor announced the end of current subsidies for domestic energy bills in April, preferring something that ‘will cost the taxpayer

Katy Balls

The Liz Truss survival plan

At the first stage of the Conservative leadership race, when Liz Truss was trying to win MPs’ support, her message was that she was the one who could ‘unite the right’. Now, her plan to survive in No. 10 relies on dividing the Tory left. Regicide is a messy business. ‘It’s very hard to push her out,’ says a former cabinet minister. ‘We would need to change the rules. It could be seen as an establishment stitch-up. I think she needs to do the right thing and resign.’ Everyone in the Tory party agrees that there needs to be a unity candidate when Truss goes, but there is absolutely no

Kate Andrews

What will the Halloween Budget bring?

Liz Truss did not think that spending cuts would be a major part of her agenda. She and her first chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, were confident that markets, having lent Britain billions of pounds to cover the cost of the lockdowns, would be more than happy to do the same to transform the economy. Their argument was, as it turned out, calamitously wrong. The miscalculation cost Kwarteng his job and the Prime Minister her power. Truss’s new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has dismantled almost all of her plans. ‘Trussonomics’ has been snuffed out. This temporarily calmed the markets. But abandoning tax cuts – as painful as it was – will soon prove

Watch: Tory MP calls Hunt a ‘fantastic’ PM

Find someone who supports you as much as Steve Brine supports Jeremy Hunt. Shortly after the latter’s appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Friday, Brine was all over the airwaves suggesting to Radio 4 that ‘you should see Liz Truss as chairman and Jeremy as chief executive.’ And four days on, Brine is at it again, popping up on the BBC’s flagship Politics Live show to trumpet his patron’s credentials. Host Jo Coburn wryly noted that less than twenty MPs had backed Hunt for leader earlier this year yet they seemed to be all over the airwaves. Brine denied, with a smile, that there had been a coup before

The effective PM has some difficult choices to make

Jeremy Hunt’s statement to the Commons underlined that he is now running the government. This wasn’t just evident from what he said, but from what was happening as he said it. The Chancellor spoke with the Prime Minister sitting behind him in silence, barely moving save to blink. Liz Truss had belatedly entered the chamber at the end of the Urgent Question that she had refused to answer herself, and then left half an hour later. But the statement also showed us quite how hard it is going to be for any caretaker leader, de facto prime minister or other figure to take the party back into a place where

Kate Andrews

Has Hunt restored the government’s fiscal credibility?

Jeremy Hunt set out at the start of the weekend with one goal in mind: that when the gilt markets reopened on Monday, the cost of government borrowing would not surge further. Ideally, it would start to fall. In this sense, it’s been a successful day for the new Chancellor. The Treasury’s early morning update that a major fiscal announcement was about to be announced saw gilt yields start to drop when markets opened at 8 a.m. After Hunt’s overhaul of the mini-Budget – including the surprising decision to suspend the 1p cut to the basic rate of tax ‘indefinitely’ – they fell even further. After starting the day at

Jeremy Hunt is the ‘unity’ leader the Tories need

Liz Truss is now prime minister in name only: Jeremy Hunt, her chancellor of the exchequer, now holds power. He has repudiated her tax-cutting mini-Budget in a round of media appearances – his performances being far more convincing than Truss’s graceless eight-minute press conference on Friday. His admission that spending cuts will be needed and that ‘some taxes are going to go up’ to balance the books has injected a much-needed dose of realism. The question on everyone’s lips is: what will Hunt do now? Is he a stalking horse for a new PM (Rishi Sunak being the obvious candidate) or is the former head boy at Charterhouse himself a

Sunday shows round-up: Is Truss a ‘libertarian jihadist’?

Jeremy Hunt – ‘The Prime Minister is in charge’ To say things do not look rosy for Liz Truss would be quite the understatement. With the government now on its second Chancellor in as many months, and its once flagship policies being hastily swept under the carpet, the Conservative party appears to be in damage limitation mode. Laura Kuenssberg spoke to the new Chancellor this morning, in a pre-recorded interview, asking him if Truss was now such a damaged figure that he was the one really calling the shots: ‘There is a very difficult job to be done right now’ Hunt told Kuenssberg that he would be looking at all

James Forsyth

Hunt on Truss: ‘She’s willing to change’

Liz Truss’s gaoler has just done another BBC interview. Jeremy Hunt continued to try and give himself maximum room for manoeuvre, saying ‘I’m not taking anything off the table’. He repeated his message: We are going to have to take some very difficult decisions both on spending and on tax. Spending is not going to increase by as much as people hoped, and indeed we’re going to have to ask all government departments to find more efficiencies than they’d planned. And taxes are not going to go down as quickly as people thought, and some taxes are going to go up. It will be fascinating to see if Truss is

Patrick O'Flynn

Who voted for Jeremy Hunt to run Britain?

Jeremy Hunt has no mandate to lead Britain. He couldn’t muster sufficient Tory MPs behind him to properly enter the last leadership contest. He was beaten overwhelmingly in the one before that.  He was a key part of the failed Theresa May administration that lost a parliamentary majority at a general election. He played no role in the Boris Johnson administration that won it back with plenty to spare (a victory from which the Conservative mandate to govern still flows). Yet in a round of interviews this weekend, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer simply ripped up the economic agenda of Liz Truss. He mocked and then buried the PM’s

Why Truss picked Hunt for Chancellor

A day is a long time in politics. Just this morning, a No. 10 source told the BBC the Prime Minister believed Kwasi Kwarteng was doing ‘an excellent job’ as chancellor and the pair were ‘in lockstep.’ Only just a few hours on, Liz Truss has sacked her close ally and friend in a bid to salvage her premiership. Now, Truss has appointed Jeremy Hunt to replace Kwarteng. It’s not even 2 p.m. The view in Downing Street is that Hunt is ultimately a low-tax Tory As soon as rumours started to circulate that Hunt was the preferred pick, there were raised eyebrows among Tory MPs. Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid


Flashback: Hunt demands 15p corporation tax

Kwasi Kwarteng, we hardly knew ye. After 38 days, the Chancellor was unceremoniously axed from his post today as Liz Truss desperately tries to rescue her crumbling premiership. Memorable highlights of his five-week stint include the mini-Budget, firing Tom Scholar and being mistaken for Bernard Mensah. Indeed, the official mourning period appears in retrospect to have been the honeymoon of his tenure. Kwarteng and Truss were elected to parliament on the same day and have been close friends for more than a decade. They were co-authors, co-founders and successive leaders of the Free Enterprise Group, allies through the long years of May and Johnson. And yet that didn’t stop her

Mark Harper hits out at Hunt

Boris Johnson’s recent woes have coincided with a renaissance for Jeremy Hunt, the man he pipped to the Tory leadership in 2019. The Surrey MP was quick to put in his letter of no confidence on Monday and has followed that up with a stinging rebuke today to Michael Gove over the Dunsfold drilling development. It follows a string of media appearances for Hunt to mark the release of his much-vaunted new book on how to fix the NHS. Yet while the former Health Secretary now finds himself one of the favourites to succeed Boris Johnson, questions still remain about his role in the Covid crisis. Nadine Dorries has claimed

Jeremy Hunt’s lockdown yarns

Jeremy Hunt is currently enjoying something of a renaissance  – all the more interesting in light of Boris Johnson’s ongoing difficulties. The former Health Secretary has been touring the TV studios recently, promoting his new book Zero: Eliminating Preventable Harm and Tragedy in the NHS. It aims to ‘reduce the number of avoidable deaths to zero and in the process save money, reduce backlogs and improve working conditions.’ An ambitious goal, to say the least. Allies of Hunt though have been keen to stress that such activities are absolutely, positively, NOT part of any leadership manoeuverings – even if he doesn’t rule out another bid in future. Hmm. Still, it can’t helped but be noticed that the Tory

Will Jeremy Hunt be the next prime minister?

Since he was defeated by Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative leadership contest, Jeremy Hunt has had a quieter life as a backbench MP. He has campaigned for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from custody in Iran and has been an effective and interventionist chairman of the Health Select Committee, often calling out his own party over inadequacies in their response to the Covid crisis and NHS funding. But could he now be preparing for another shot at the top job? Now that partygate looks increasingly likely to lead to a change of leader, Hunt has told the House magazine that: ‘I won’t say my ambition has completely vanished, but

Foreign honours for Hunt and May

Not many people here in Westminster have a good word to say about the Theresa May years. But down in tiny San Marino, all that appears to be very different. For the landlocked republic recently chose to lavish two of its most prestigious honours on May and her Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with both flying there in October to have their honours conferred. Hunt received the prestigious Order of Saint Agatha at the rank Grand Officer; May’s was even better, receiving the same order at the highest rank: Grand Cross.  The awards were given, according to the Consulate of the Republic of San Marino to the UK, for May’s merits ‘not only as

Why is the Treasury blocking a helpful health reform?

The Health and Care Bill is having a predictably stormy passage through parliament, popping up in the Lords next week for its second reading. If you’d paid only cursory attention to its closing stages in the Commons then you might be forgiven for thinking the legislation is largely about reform to social care and privatisation of the NHS. In reality, the social care policy was inserted at the last minute, and it’s only an amendment covering the cap on care costs, while privatisation has become something left-wing politicians like to warn is about to happen regardless of what’s in the bill before them (more on that here). It is not