Jeremy Hunt (politician)
|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 (Culture, Media and Sport)
Tessa Jowell (Olympics)
|Succeeded by||Maria Miller (Culture, Media and Sport)|
|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||Hugo Swire|
|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 Guo (2009–present)|
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, (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
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 Cooke Givan. Hunt was raised in Shere, near the constituency that he now represents in Parliament. 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.
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 two years as a management consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants, 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.
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 it has been suggested that a 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, 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, was 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 Culture Secretary, Hunt devised and championed a plan to give Britain the fastest broadband speeds in Europe. There was initial scepticism about his plans with concerns they could lead to BT regaining its monopoly. However, speeds did increase significantly when he was in office. He also spearheaded the drive for local TV and as a result of this policy Ofcom awarded local TV licences to Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea. In culture his main focus was to boost philanthropy given the spending cuts that the arts along with other sectors was experiencing. Tax breaks were introduced to boost inheritance tax and gifts of works of art.
During Hunt's tenure, 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. 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.
Lord Justice Leveson cleared Hunt of bias when the report was published, stating that "in some respects, there was much to commend in Mr Hunt’s handling of the bid”. He concluded: “What was not evident from the close consideration of events which the Inquiry undertook was any credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt. Whatever he had said, both publicly and in private, about News Corp or the Murdochs, as soon as he was given the responsibility for dealing with the bid the evidence demonstrates a real desire on his part to get it right. His actions as a decision maker were frequently adverse to News Corp’s interests. He showed a willingness to follow Ofcom’s advice and to take action, to the extent recommended by the regulators, in response to the consultation.” 
As Culture Secretary, Hunt was the government Minister responsible for the London Olympics and Paralympics. He was famously filmed losing control of a bell on HMS Belfast that hit but did not hurt someone watching. When it transpired that contractors G4S were not adequately prepared for the Games, Hunt announced that soldiers would be drafted in and that he had been forced to "think again" about the default use of private contractors. Hunt took the decision to double the budget for the widely acclaimed opening ceremony, and overall the Games were considered a huge success internationally. In the aftermath, Hunt set up the school games as an Olympic Legacy project. Although there was criticism at the time of cuts in the school sports budget, 11,953 schools took part in the School Games in the first year. Hunt also pushed to increase the emphasis on the importance of the tourism industry, especially the potential of the Chinese tourist market.
Hunt was appointed Health Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle on 4 September 2012, succeeding Andrew Lansley. He described the appointment as a "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.
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."
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.
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. It was reported in December 2013 that Hunt was personally telephoning the Chairs of NHS hospital trusts where targets in Accident and Emergency Departments (A & E) had been missed, a course of action described as "crazy" by David Prior, chairman of the Care Quality Commission. Prior, a former Conservative MP, said that whilst Hunt, like his Labour predecessors, took responsibility, the result was money being diverted from primary and community care to A & E. However Dr Clifford Mann, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, blamed the problems on the Health and Social Care Act 2012 for causing "decision-making paralysis" and leaving the country short of around 375 emergency doctors.
In March 2014, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt told NHS workers that the NHS cannot afford to give a one per cent rise in pay.
In an interview with the Health Service Journal in November 2014 he said he wanted to stay as Health Secretary until 2017, however, a speech delivered by Jeremy Hunt in July 2015 prompted a petition calling for his removal from office, which quickly gained over 50,000 signatures. He has also declared that patient choice was not key to improving NHS performance, in a major break from a policy favoured by Conservative and Labour governments over the past 12 years. He stated that “there are natural monopolies in healthcare, where patient choice is never going to drive change”.
In July 2015 Jeremy Hunt became the subject of the first petition on a new UK Government website to reach the threshold of 100,000 signatures required for a petition to be considered for debate in Parliament. This threshold was passed within 1 day of the website being set up. The petition called for a debate on a vote of "No Confidence" in Mr Hunt as Health Secretary. The petition had reached 200,000 signatures on 27 July.
- Jeremy Hunt Esq (1966–2005)
- Jeremy Hunt Esq MP (2005–2010)
- The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (2010–)
- The London Gazette: . 13 May 2010.
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||This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (July 2015)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeremy Hunt (politician).|
- 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
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- 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 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]