Jeremy Hunt, next Tory leader?

A piece in today's Guardian is touting Jeremy Hunt as a future Tory leader. Could it really be so?

A piece in yesterday’s Guardian pondered whether the current health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, could be a dark horse in the race to succeed a prime minister who looks increasingly unlikely to make it past 2017’s prospective referendum on the EU.

In Hunt’s favour is a more outward looking perspective than the majority of his party, particularly with regard to immigration and gay marriage. A fluent speaker of Japanese after spending two years there as an English teacher, Hunt also has a successful background in business, meaning that at least he does not bolster the ranks of those scourges of Westminster, the careerist politicians.

Nevertheless, the idea of this man in charge of the Conservative Party is a perturbing prospect for the country.

Although the fact that he was caught up in the expenses scandal, eventually repaying £9,500 of wrongly claimed expenses, hardly sets him apart from any other politician, controversy has relentlessly pursued the MP for South West Surrey.

Neither do his comments that appeared to associate Liverpool fans for hooliganism in the Hillsborough tragedy really mark him out as unusual given his party’s history in that regard.

Corrupt, gaff prone politicians are, after all, hardly a rarity, but during Hunt’s time as culture secretary the real signs of a murky character at ease with nepotism began to emerge.

In the course of the Leveson Enquiry it emerged that Hunt had been having private text and email conversations with James Murdoch as News Corporation attempted to take over BSKYB, a bid over which it was Hunt’s remit to oversee.

Following calls to resign by Labour, Hunt then went on to take much of the blame for G4S’ disastrous Olympic security measures which resulted in the army being drafted in. It was also alleged by Labour that he attempted to remove the eulogy to the NHS in the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Given the above, as well as his view that the abortion limit should be reduced from 24 to 12 weeks, and his fatuous support for homeopathy, it was to the astonishment of many that Hunt was appointed to the role of health secretary during a cabinet reshuffle in 2012.

That the health secretary shares a witless esteem for quackery with Prince Charles is even more concerning. The two of them met in secret at Clarence House in 2013 in order that the king-to-be might press upon Hunt the importance of setting up a register of practitioners of herbal and Chinese medicine – intended to offer the profession a modicum of credibility.

That Charles feels it’s his place to air these concerns is bad enough, but that Hunt is placating him with an audience as they collude in a sinister view that is not only anathema to the vast majority of the medical profession, but also to the laws of logic and reason, is deeply troubling. For reference, alternative medicine that has been proven to work tends have the prefix removed.

It is an amazing thing that, given his apparent incompetence, the one-time Head Boy at Charterhouse has managed to rise so high. He certainly has an ability to confound the odds matched only by his Oxford contemporary, Boris Johnson.

Considering this charmed existence, the day may come when the country has to choose between Hunt and Miliband, both slippery operators but both so bland, banal and uninspiring that one wonders if the Matrix’s Agent Smith really has infiltrated the political establishment.

The 1930s, Orwell once noted, “was a stagnant period, and its natural leaders were mediocrities”. Perhaps Jeremy, too, is simply a man of his age.

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8 Responses to “Jeremy Hunt, next Tory leader?”

  1. JosBell

    I think you’ve been rather too gentle on Mr Hunt there Joe….. do check out his history with the Lewisham Hospital debacle and now Clause 118>119 …. – quite simply what he tried to do in Lewisham unlawfully, he is now attempting to do to any hospital in England ie asset strip and donate the land to property developers. Forget the homeopathy cuddles with Prince Charles – this really is a national emergency.

  2. Cole

    Suggesting Miliband is as ‘slippery operator’ as Hunt is a bit cruel. Hunt easily wins the competition.

  3. George Hallam

    Yes, Hunt’s attempt to close Lewisham Hospital was ruled unlawful, twice.

    Unfortunately, on both occasions the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign muffed the opportunity to call for Hunt’s resignation.
    Of course, that wouldn’t have mattered if the Labour Party leaders had made a concerted effort to push for his head…. but they didn’t.

    Could it be that they were worried about creating a precedent for ministers who broke the law resigning?

  4. JosBell

    come on George – keep up. The call for Hunt’s resignation went out in November…..

  5. JosBell

    and indeed George there is more…..The Lewisham campaign did call for Hunt’s resignation in our petition
    which tens of thousands signed on and off line after the first court
    victory in July, where we demanded for Hunt not to waste public money by taking
    us to Appeal. We have a web page of Hunt
    history on our website which highlights a few facts about him . Our wonderful website manager Olivia O’Sullivan compiled this when we went on our Hunt for Hunt to his constituency (where Lewisham campaigners were greeted warmly by the
    population) There is an excellent video with a specially composed piece of music by a local composer. It’s always as well to check your facts before jumping in with both feet George.

  6. George Hallam

    Read my post before “jumping in with both feet”.

    I wrote: “on both occasions Lewisham Hospital Campaign muffed the opportunity to call for Hunt’s resignation”.

    That was ‘muffed’ as in ‘to perform or handle clumsily’.

    Lewisham Hospital Campaign did call for his resignation but they mishandeled it at the key moments i.e. outside the High Court when the decisions were announced and the TY cameras were on.

    It was the Labour Party leadership that didn’t push for Hunt’s resignation not the Lewisham Hospital Campaign.

    Had Miliband, Balls and Burnham made a concerted attack on Hunt then the pressure would have been on. The interesting question is: why Labour didn’t go for Hunt?
    Could it be because they have the same basic objectives as Hunt? These include closing local hospitals and privitising the NHS.
    Let’s not forget that the attack on Lewisham Hospital was occasioned by the (Labour imposed) PFI debts on the South London Health Trust and facilitated by the Special Administrator mechanism (created by the Labour Party).

  7. treborc1

    Nice to know Cameron will be the leader at least until 2017 … I thought according to labour he’s a dead man walking as for Hunt becoming the leader why not Miliband made it/.

  8. drydamol1


    ID Smith has all the outward signs of being a Psychopath but
    could the signs be misleading for that interpretation and have a more basic
    significance .An insider told me yesterday that Smiths latest proposal was to
    Sanction anyone involved in a Protest against the Tory draconian regime .

    Nick Clegg and his Cohorts actually think Smith and the Tory
    hierarchy are really losing the plot desperately to hang on to any threads of
    credibility endorsed by their dwindling number of supporters by desperate
    measures such as Smiths .

    Whilst Smith a well known Liar and Public Purse Thief is
    pontificating to us about Idle ne’er do wells his own Department recently spent
    £471,000 on an office within the Department that was totally left empty for
    over eight months .

    We all agree that the Benefits System has become out dated
    and needs Systematic Reform to allow it to run more efficiently but Smiths rants about Scroungers and Fraud has no basis
    backed by the fact that the Department paid £2.3 Billion in income related
    benefits to households that do not need them .Reform was needed but after the
    Debacle ID Smith has made of the process Millions have so far been written off
    and the reformed system under Smith and the Tories will waste Millions if not
    Billions on reverting back to the original state is was in to keep it running .UC
    was being rolled out in October 2013 we are probably looking at another
    Government to implement it by 2020 if we are lucky .The Tories are Morally and
    Financially trying to drag us down with them into Bankruptcy on both issues .

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