Jeremy Hunt (politician)

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The Right Honourable
Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt Official.jpg
Secretary of State for Health
Assumed office
4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Andrew Lansley
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
In office
12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Ben Bradshaw
Succeeded by Maria Miller
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Hugo Swire
Succeeded by Ben Bradshaw
Shadow Minister for the Olympics
In office
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell
Shadow Minister for Disabled People
In office
6 December 2005 – 2 July 2007
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Paul Goodman
Succeeded by Mark Harper
Member of Parliament
for South West Surrey
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Virginia Bottomley
Majority 16,318 (28.5%)
Personal details
Born Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt
(1966-11-01) 1 November 1966 (age 47)
Kennington, London, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lucia Guo (2009–present)
Children Jack
Education Charterhouse School
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Website Party website
Personal website

Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt,[1] MP (born 1 November 1966) is a British Conservative Party politician, who is the Secretary of State for Health, and the Member of Parliament for South West Surrey. He was previously Culture Secretary (2010–12).

Early life and education[edit]

John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, Hunt's 4th great grandfather

Jeremy Hunt was born in Lambeth Hospital, Kennington,[2] the elder son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt,[3] who was then a Commander in the Royal Navy assigned to work for the Director of Naval Plans inside the recently created Ministry of Defence,[4] by his wife Meriel Eve née Givan (now Lady Hunt), daughter of Major Henry Cooke Givan.[5] Hunt was raised in Shere, near the constituency that he now represents in Parliament.[6] He is the great grandson of Walter Baldwyn Yates, and 4th great grandson of John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, 29th great grandson of King Henry I, 4th cousin once removed of Elizabeth II, and 5th cousin once removed of Sir Oswald Mosley.[7]

Hunt was educated at Charterhouse School, where he was Head Boy,[3] before attending Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with a First in PPE. He became involved in Conservative politics while at university, where David Cameron and Boris Johnson were contemporaries.[8] He was active in the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA), and was elected to serve as President in 1987.[8]

Early career[edit]

After university Hunt worked for two years as a management consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants,[9] and then decided to pursue life as an English language teacher in Japan. Whilst living in Japan he became a proficient speaker of the Japanese language and enthusiast of modern Japanese and other east Asian cultures.

On his return to Britain he tried his hand at a number of different entrepreneurial business ventures, including a failed attempt to export marmalade to Japan.[10] Hunt joined Profile PR, a public relations agency specialising in IT which he co-founded with Mike Elms, a childhood friend. With clients such as BT, Bull Integris, and Zetafax Profile did well during the IT boom of the mid-1990s. Hunt and Elms later sold their interest in Profile to concentrate on directory publishing. Together they founded a company now known as Hotcourses,[11] a major client of whose is the British Council.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Hunt was elected at the 2005 general election, after Virginia Bottomley was created a life peeress. He was elected to represent the constituency of South West Surrey with an increased majority of 5,711.

After supporting David Cameron's bid for leadership of the Conservative Party, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Disabled People in December 2005. In David Cameron's reshuffle of 2 July 2007, Hunt joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. When the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition following the 2010 general election, Hunt was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (combining the roles of leading the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with that of Minister for the Olympics). He was consequently appointed a Privy Councillor on 13 May 2010.[12]


In 2009, Hunt was investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after allowing his political agent to live in his taxpayer funded home in Farnham as a lodger from November 2005 to June 2007.[13][14] The commissioner found:

Mr Hunt was in breach of the rules in not reducing his claims on the Additional Costs Allowance in that period to take full account of his agent's living costs. As a result, public funds provided a benefit to the constituency agent... But I accept that Mr Hunt received no real financial benefit from the arrangement and that the error was caused by his misinterpretation of the rules.[14]

Hunt’s offer to repay half the money (£9,558.50) was accepted.[14] Hunt also had to repay £1,996 for claiming the expenses of his Farnham home whilst claiming the mortgage of his Hammersmith home.[14] The commissioner said:

Mr Hunt has readily accepted that he was in error, and in breach of the rules of the House, in making a claim for utilities and other services on his Farnham home in the period during which it was still his main home. He has repaid the sum claimed, £1,996, in full. It is clear that, as a new Member in May 2005, his office arrangements were at best disorganised.[14]

The Legg Report showed no other outstanding issues.[15] Hunt's expenses were ranked 568 out of 647 in 2008–2009 and 548 out of 645 in 2007–8.[16]

Hillsborough comments[edit]

In June 2010, Hunt attracted controversy for suggesting football hooliganism played a part in the death of 96 football fans in the Hillsborough disaster; when in reality lack of police control and the presence of terraces and perimeter fences were established as the causes of the tragedy. He later apologised saying "I know that fan unrest played no part in the terrible events of April 1989 and I apologise to Liverpool fans and the families of those killed and injured in the Hillsborough disaster if my comments caused any offence."[17]

Tax avoidance[edit]

In April 2012, immediately following David Cameron's statement that he would not associate himself with anyone who carried out "aggressive tax avoidance", the Daily Telegraph disclosed that Hunt had reduced his tax bill by over £100,000 by receiving dividends from Hotcourses in the form of property which was promptly leased back to the company.[18] The dividend in specie was paid just before a 10% rise in dividend tax and Hunt was not required to pay stamp duty on the property.[18]

Culture Secretary[edit]

Hunt in 2010

In September 2010, The Observer reported "raised eyebrows" when Hunt's former parliamentary assistant, Naomi Gummer, had been given a job within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on a fixed-term civil service contract after Hunt had proposed departmental cuts of 35–50 per cent.[19] The head of the Public and Commercial Services Union questioned Hunt's motives saying, "Political independence of the civil service is a fundamental part of our democracy and we would be deeply concerned if this was being put at risk by nepotism and privilege."[19] Gummer is the daughter of a Conservative life peer, Lord Chadlington, who was a director of Hotcourses between 2000 and 2004.[19]

As Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Hunt oversaw an expansion of the responsibilities of his Department. Competition and policy issues relating to media and telecommunications became the responsibility of the culture secretary; they were removed from the purview of the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, after Cable was recorded stating that he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch.[20]

Hunt was consequently given the quasi-judicial power to adjudicate over the News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB. Hunt chose not to refer to the deal to the Competition Commission, announcing on 3 March 2011 that he intended to accept a series of undertakings given by News Corporation, paving the way for the deal to be approved.[21] Following a series of scandals concerning phone hacking, a House of Commons motion was planned that called on News Corporation to abandon the bid. The bid was eventually dropped.[22] Hunt was alleged to have had improper contact with News Corp. Emails released to the Leveson Inquiry detailed contacts between Hunt's special advisor Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel,[23] News Corp’s director of public affairs and therefore a lobbyist for James Murdoch. The revelations led to calls from the Labour opposition and others for Hunt's resignation.[24] Smith, Hunt's special adviser, resigned on 25 April[25] shortly before Hunt made an emergency parliamentary statement in which he said that Smith's contact with Michel was "clearly not appropriate". Hunt said Lord Justice Leveson should be able to investigate and rule on the accusations and requested the earliest date possible to give evidence to the Inquiry to set out his side of the story.[26] As a contribution to the House of Commons debate questioning Hunt's conduct, his PPS, Rob Wilson drew up a list of supportive questions for Tory MPs to ask in the House of Commons in the midst of the BSkyB controversy.[27] Hunt appeared before the Leveson inquiry on 31 May 2012, when it emerged that Hunt had himself been in text and private email contact with James Murdoch, congratulating him on the progress of the takeover bid, before he took over responsibility for adjudicating on the bid.[28][29]

In June 2012, Labour MP Chris Bryant accused Hunt of lying to Parliament.[30] Speaker Bercow refused to require Bryant retract his allegation that Hunt was a "liar” on the basis that as the debate was on a "substantive motion on the conduct of a minister [Hunt], the normal rules about parliamentary language frankly don't apply".[31]

A Labour motion calling for an enquiry by Sir Alex Allan was defeated by 290 to 252 votes, with the Liberal Democrats absenting themselves as ordered to by Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the Coalition and Leader of the Liberal Democrats.[32]

As Culture Secretary, Hunt was also responsible for security at the London Olympic Games 2012, defending the ongoing failure of the contractors G4S as completely normal.[33] When it transpired that G4S were not adequately prepared for the Games, Hunt stated he had been forced to '"think again" about the default use of private contractors.[34] According to Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, Hunt also reportedly attempted to have scenes celebrating the National Health Service removed from the Olympics opening ceremony.[35]

Health Secretary[edit]

Hunt was appointed Health Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle on 4 September 2012, succeeding Andrew Lansley.[36] He described the appointment as "huge task and the biggest privilege of my life" -though he had previously co-authored a book calling for the NHS to be dismantled and replaced with a system of personal health accounts.[37]

The chair of the British Medical Association, Dr Mark Porter, said "The appointment of a new Health Secretary provides a fresh opportunity for doctors and government to work together to improve patient care and deal with the many challenges facing the NHS."[38] The deputy chairman of the same association, Dr Kailash Chand, said "Jeremy Hunt is new Health Secretary – disaster in the NHS carries on. I fear a more toxic right winger to follow the privatisation agenda."[39]

The Daily Telegraph science correspondent Tom Chivers expressed concern that Hunt is known to support homoeopathy.[40]

In an interview with The Times in October 2012, Hunt said that he was in favour of reducing the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 12 weeks.[41]

A comment piece by The Guardian columnist Oliver James in 2013 pointed out that there was a difficulty with Hunt castigating Health Service managers for inefficiency when, by his own admission at the Leveson Inquiry, he had been unable to effectively manage his Special Adviser.[42]

In June 2013, he said that the regional variations in premature deaths throughout the United Kingdom were shocking. The table revealed that Liverpool and Manchester were among the places with the highest rates of premature death in the United Kingdom.

In June 2013 he also announced plans to charge foreign nationals for using the NHS claiming that the cost was up to £200 million though official figures put it at £33 million.[43]

It was reported in December 2013 that Hunt was personally telephoning the Chairs of NHS hospital trusts where targets in the Emergency Department had been missed, a course of action described as "crazy" by David Prior, chairman of the Care Quality Commission, although Prior also conceded that "of course he's doing it because he's held accountable", a process instituted by the previous government.[44]

In March 2014, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt told NHS workers, the NHS cannot afford to give one per cent rise in pay.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Hunt's wife, Lucia Guo, comes from Xi'an in China. They married in Xi'an in July 2009, and have a son, born in 2010, and a daughter born in 2012.[46]

Hunt enjoys dancing the Zouk-Lambada.[47][48]


  • Jeremy Hunt Esq (1966–2005)
  • Jeremy Hunt Esq MP (2005–2010)
  • The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (2010–)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8745. 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Births". The Times. 2 November 1966. p. 2. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile: Jeremy Hunt", BBC News, 25 April 2012
  4. ^ "Appointments in the Forces". The Times. 9 May 1966. p. 14. 
  5. ^ "Forthcoming marriages". The Times. 23 September 1965. p. 1. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Tim Walker "Jeremy Hunt: Rough ride for the smooth operator", The Independent, 3 July 2010
  9. ^ Media Week, 7 July 2009
  10. ^ Broadcast magazine interview with Jeremy Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, 13 August 2008
  11. ^ Hotcourses website.
  12. ^ "Privy Council Orders 13 May 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "MPs' expenses: Jeremy Hunt to repay £9,500". London: Daily Telegraph. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Standards and Privileges Committee – Fourth Report Mr Jeremy Hunt". 10 December 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). House of Commons Members Estimate Committee. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "Jeremy Hunt, Conservative MP for South West Surrey". Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Jeremy Hunt 'sorry' over Hillsborough hooligans claim". BBC News. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Holly Watt and Claire Newell (27 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt avoided £100,000 tax bill in deal just days before rate rise". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Jamie Doward (19 September 2010). "Row after Tory peer's daughter is given job in culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's department". London: Guardian Newspapers. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  20. ^ "What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB". Robert Peston (BBC News). 21 December 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Hunt gives green light to News Corp-Sky deal". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 3 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "News Corp withdraws bid for BSkyB". BBC News. 13 July 2011. 
  23. ^ Helen Pidd "Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel: an intimate correspondence", The Guardian, 25 April 2012
  24. ^ Oliver Wright, et al "James Murdoch's revenge: Evidence that shook Government to its core", The Independent, 25 April 2012
  25. ^ Patrick Wintour "Jeremy Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith quits", The Guardian, 25 April 2012
  26. ^ Robert Winnett "Jeremy Hunt admits links between adviser and News Corp 'clearly not appropriate'", Daily Telegraph, 25 April 2012
  27. ^ Jeremy Hunt loses special advisor in defence of BSkyB role The Guardian 25 April 2012
  28. ^ The Leveson Inquiry "Leveson Inquiry Witness List Week Commencing 28 May 2012",, 25 May 2012
  29. ^ "Leveson Inquiry: Hunt defends 'congrats' Murdoch text". BBC News. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  30. ^ Hansard Commons Debates, 13 June 2012, column 344,363)
  31. ^ John Bercow, speaking on the BBC's World at One programme and reported in The Guardian 14 August 2012
  32. ^ "Jeremy Hunt denies Labour's claim he lied to Parliament". BBC. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  33. ^ Rosa Prince (15 July 2012). "Jeremy Hunt: 'completely normal' for a contractor to fail to deliver". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  34. ^ Travis, Alan (14 August 2012). "G4S advertises for staff to help police investigate crimes". The Guardian (London). 
  35. ^ "Jeremy Hunt under fire for stance on NHS tribute, homeopathy and abortion", The Guardian, 4 September 2012
  36. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Lansley replaced by Hunt in health job". BBC News. 4 September 2012. 
  37. ^ Toby Helm and Rajeev Syal (16 August 2009). "Key Tory MPs backed call to dismantle NHS". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ Smith, Rebecca (4 September 2012). "Jeremy Hunt is controversial appointment as Health Secretary". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  40. ^ "Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, thinks homeopathy works". London: 4 September 2012. 
  41. ^ "Abortion limit reduction favoured by Jeremy Hunt". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  42. ^
  43. ^ Rowena Mason (30 June 2013). "Crackdown on NHS 'health tourists'". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  44. ^ "Jeremy Hunt crazy to call hospital bosses, says regulator". BBC News. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  45. ^ "Unions threaten strike action over NHS pay settlement". The Guardian. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  46. ^ Walters, Simon; Mcgee, Simon (3 January 2009). "A cup of tea (and rice wine) secures Chinese bride for dashing Tory". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  47. ^ Odone, Christina (1 May 2012). "There’s culture, Jeremy Hunt – and there’s 'sensual hip swivelling’". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  48. ^ Barkham, Patrick (30 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt's secret is out: he loves to dance the lambada". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Virginia Bottomley
Member of Parliament for South West Surrey
Political offices
Preceded by
Ben Bradshaw
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
Succeeded by
Maria Miller
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Preceded by
Tessa Jowell
as Minister of State for the Olympics
Preceded by
Andrew Lansley
Secretary of State for Health
Order of precedence in England and Wales
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Order of precedence in Northern Ireland
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