Jeremy Hunt (politician)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2012)|
|The Right Honourable
|Secretary of State for Health|
4 September 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Andrew Lansley|
|Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport|
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|
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Preceded by||Hugo Swire|
|Succeeded by||Ben Bradshaw|
|Shadow Minister for the Olympics|
2 July 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Tessa Jowell|
|Shadow Minister for Disabled People|
6 December 2005 – 2 July 2007
|Preceded by||Paul Goodman|
|Succeeded by||Mark Harper|
|Member of Parliament
for South West Surrey
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Virginia Bottomley|
|Born||Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt
1 November 1966
|Spouse(s)||Lucia Liu (2009–present)|
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, PC, 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 (2010-2012).
Early life and education
Jeremy Hunt was born in Lambeth Hospital, Kennington, the elder son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, 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, by his wife Meriel Eve née Givan (now Lady Hunt), daughter of Major Henry C. Givan. Hunt was raised in Shere, near the constituency that he now represents in Parliament.
Hunt was educated at Charterhouse School, where he was Head Boy, 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. He was active in the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA), and was elected to serve as President in 1987.
After university Hunt worked for a short period of time as a management consultant, 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. 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, a major client of whose is the British Council. Hotcourses has subsequently provided financial support to Hunt's parliamentary office.
Member of Parliament
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.
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. 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.
Hunt’s offer to repay half the money (£9,558.50) was accepted. Hunt also had to repay £1,996 for claiming the expenses of his Farnham home whilst claiming the mortgage of his Hammersmith home. 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.
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."
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. 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.
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. 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." Gummer is the daughter of a Conservative life peer, Lord Chadlington, who was a director of Hotcourses between 2000 and 2004.
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.
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. 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. 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, 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. Smith, Hunt's special adviser, resigned on 25 April 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. 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. 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.
In June 2012, Labour MP Chris Bryant accused Hunt of lying to Parliament. Speaker Bercow refused to require Bryant retract his allegation that Hunt was a "liar” on the basis that the debate was on a "substantive motion on the conduct of a minister [Hunt], the normal rules about parliamentary language frankly don't apply".
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.
As Culture Secretary, Hunt was also responsible for security at the London Olympic Games 2012. When it transpired that contractors G4S were not adequately prepared for the Games, Hunt stated he had been forced to '"think again" about the default use of private contractors. 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.
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." 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."
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.
- The London Gazette: . 13 May 2010.
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- "Forthcoming marriages". The Times. 23 September 1965. p. 1.
- Tim Walker "Jeremy Hunt: Rough ride for the smooth operator", The Independent, 3 July 2010
- Broadcast magazine interview with Jeremy Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, 13 August 2008
- Hotcourses website.
- of Members’ Interests "Jeremy Hunt Register of Members Interests". theyworkforyou. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- "Privy Council Orders 13 May 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- "MPs' expenses: Jeremy Hunt to repay £9,500". London: Daily Telegraph. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
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- "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). House of Commons Members Estimate Committee. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
- "Jeremy Hunt, Conservative MP for South West Surrey". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
- "Jeremy Hunt 'sorry' over Hillsborough hooligans claim". BBC News. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Holly Watt and Claire Newell (27 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt avoided £100,000 tax bill in deal just days before rate rise". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- 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.
- "What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB". Robert Peston (BBC News). 21 December 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Hunt gives green light to News Corp-Sky deal". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 3 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "News Corp withdraws bid for BSkyB". BBC News. 13 July 2011.
- Helen Pidd "Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel: an intimate correspondence", The Guardian, 25 April 2012
- Oliver Wright, et al "James Murdoch's revenge: Evidence that shook Government to its core", The Independent, 25 April 2012
- Patrick Wintour "Jeremy Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith quits", The Guardian, 25 April 2012
- Robert Winnett "Jeremy Hunt admits links between adviser and News Corp 'clearly not appropriate'", Daily Telegraph, 25 April 2012
- Jeremy Hunt loses special advisor in defence of BSkyB role The Guardian 25 April 2012
- The Leveson Inquiry "Leveson Inquiry Witness List Week Commencing 28 May 2012", levesoninquiry.com, 25 May 2012
- "Leveson Inquiry: Hunt defends 'congrats' Murdoch text". BBC News. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Hansard Commons Debates, 13 June 2012, column 344,363)
- John Bercow, speaking on the BBC's World at One programme and reported in The Guardian 14/08/2012
- "Jeremy Hunt denies Labour's claim he lied to Parliament". BBC. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Telegraph report 15-07-2012 of an interview in which Hunt refused to criticise G4S.
- "Jeremy Hunt under fire for stance on NHS tribute, homeopathy and abortion", The Guardian, 4 September 2012
- "Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, thinks homeopathy works". telegraph.co.uk.
- "Abortion limit reduction favoured by Jeremy Hunt". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- Walters, Simon; Mcgee, Simon (3 January 2009). "A cup of tea (and rice wine) secures Chinese bride for dashing Tory". Mail Online. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
- Jeremy Hunt "elated" with Latest Role Jeremy Hunt, 13 May 2010
- Jeremy and Lucia Welcome New Arrival Anna, Jeremy Hunt, 29 March 2012
- Odone, Christina (1 May 2012). "There’s culture, Jeremy Hunt – and there’s 'sensual hip swivelling’". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Barkham, Patrick (30 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt's secret is out: he loves to dance the lambada". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP official constituency website
- Secretary of State at Department of Health
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Jeremy Hunt at the Internet Movie Database
- Jeremy Hunt (politician) collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Jeremy Hunt at Politics Home
- Column archive at Conservative Home
- Profile at Conservatives.com
- Debrett's People of Today
- Profile: Jeremy Hunt, BBC News, 30 May 2012
- Talking about the 2005 election, BBC World Service[dead link]