Jeremy Hunt

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For the British road racing cyclist, see Jeremy Hunt (cyclist).
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 (Culture, Media and Sport)
Tessa Jowell (Olympics)
Succeeded by Maria Miller (Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Hugo Swire
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 28,556 (53%)
Personal details
Born Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt
(1966-11-01) 1 November 1966 (age 48)
London, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lucia Guo (2009–present)
Children 3
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Website Party website
Personal website

Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt[1] (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, 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.[11]


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.[12][13] 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.[13]

Hunt’s offer to repay half the money (£9,558.50) was accepted.[13] Hunt also had to repay £1,996 for claiming the expenses of his Farnham home whilst claiming the mortgage of his Hammersmith home.[13] 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.[13]

The Legg Report showed no other outstanding issues.[14] Hunt's expenses were ranked 568 out of 647 in 2008–2009 and 548 out of 645 in 2007–8.[15]

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 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."[16]

Tax affairs[edit]

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.[17] 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.[17]

Culture Secretary[edit]

Hunt in 2010

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.[18] 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."[18] Gummer is the daughter of a Conservative life peer, Lord Chadlington, who was a director of Hotcourses between 2000 and 2004.[18]

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.[19] However, speeds did increase significantly when he was in office.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] 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,[26] 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.[27] Smith, Hunt's special adviser, resigned on 25 April[28] 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.[29] 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.[30][31]

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”.[32] 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.” [32]

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.[33] Hunt took the decision to double the budget for the widely acclaimed opening ceremony, and overall the Games were considered a huge success internationally.[34][35][36] 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,[37] 11,953 schools took part in the School Games in the first year.[38] Hunt also pushed to increase the emphasis on the importance of the tourism industry, especially the potential of the Chinese tourist market.[39]

Health Secretary[edit]

Hunt was appointed Health Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle on 4 September 2012, succeeding Andrew Lansley.[40] 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.[41]

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."[42] 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."[43]

The Daily Telegraph science correspondent Tom Chivers expressed concern that Hunt is known to support homeopathy.[44] In 2014 Hunt asked the Chief Medical Officer to initiate expert reviews of three homeopathic studies carried out by Boiron, a French manufacturer of homeopathic products.[45]

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.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48] 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.[49] 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.[50]

In March 2014, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt told NHS workers that the NHS cannot afford to give a one per cent rise in pay.[51]

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 200,000 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”.[52]

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.[53] The petition ultimately recorded 219,343 signatures leading to a debate on the motion being scheduled on 14th September 2015.[54] However, the Petitions Committee does not have the power to initiate a vote of no confidence, so the debate instead focused on the contracts and conditions of the NHS staff.[55]

In September 2015 after proposing new contracts for junior doctors that included an increase in working hours with a relative pay cut of 20-40% the BMA have called for a strike, the first since the 1970's. [56]

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 two daughters born in 2012 and 2014.[57]

In 2010, the Daily Mail newspaper reported that Mr Hunt's various property and business investments gave him a net worth of £4.5 million.[58][better source needed]


  • Jeremy Hunt (1966–2005)
  • The Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (2005–2010)
  • The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt PC 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". 31 May 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Appointments in the Forces". The Times. 9 May 1966. p. 14. 
  5. ^ "Forthcoming marriages". The Times. 23 September 1965. p. 1. 
  6. ^ "Jeremy Hunt opens Radisson Edwardian Guildford – and shares hotel tipping advice... - Places - Surrey". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Jowit, Juliette; Malik, Shiv; Siddique, Haroon. "Cabinet reshuffle: who has moved so far? | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Walker, Tim (3 July 2010). "Jeremy Hunt: Rough ride for the smooth operator - Profiles - People". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Dennys, Harriet. "Hunt lays down Tory blueprint for media - Media news". Media Week. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Broadcast magazine interview with". Archived from the original on 30 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "Privy Council Orders 13 May 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "MPs' expenses: Jeremy Hunt to repay £9,500". London: Daily Telegraph. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Standards and Privileges Committee – Fourth Report Mr Jeremy Hunt". 10 December 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). House of Commons Members Estimate Committee. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Jeremy Hunt, Conservative MP for South West Surrey". Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Jeremy Hunt 'sorry' over Hillsborough hooligans claim". BBC News. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Watt, Holly; Newell, Claire (27 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt avoided £100,000 tax bill in deal just days before rate rise". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c Doward, Jamie (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. 
  19. ^ Meyer, David (31 July 2012). "Broadband policy could bring back BT monopoly, claims Lords report". ZDNet. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Jump in UK broadband speeds | Ofcom". 2 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Ofcom invites applications for first 21 local TV channels | Ofcom". 10 May 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Smith, Alistair. "George Osborne announces arts philanthropy measures in budget | News". The Stage. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  23. ^ "What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB". Robert Peston (BBC News). 21 December 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "Hunt gives green light to News Corp-Sky deal". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 3 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "News Corp withdraws bid for BSkyB". BBC News. 13 July 2011. 
  26. ^ Pidd, Helen (25 April 2012). "Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel: an intimate correspondence". The Guardian. 
  27. ^ Wright, Oliver; et al. (25 April 2012). "James Murdoch's revenge: Evidence that shook Government to its core". The Independent. 
  28. ^ Wintour, Patrick (25 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith quits". The Guardian. 
  29. ^ Winnett, Robert (25 April 2012). "Jeremy Hunt admits links between adviser and News Corp 'clearly not appropriate'". Daily Telegraph. 
  30. ^ The Leveson Inquiry "Leveson Inquiry Witness List Week Commencing 28 May 2012",, 25 May 2012
  31. ^ "Leveson Inquiry: Hunt defends 'congrats' Murdoch text". BBC News. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  32. ^ a b The Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson (November 2012). "AN INQUIRY INTO THE CULTURE, PRACTICES AND ETHICS OF THE PRESS" (PDF). The Leveson Inquiry III. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2014. 
  33. ^ Travis, Alan (14 August 2012). "G4S advertises for staff to help police investigate crimes". The Guardian (London). 
  34. ^ "On the money — Jeremy Hunt’s decision to double ceremony budget was vindicated by last night’s magical spectacle". Conservative Home. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  35. ^ Topping, Alexandra. "London 2012: verdict from around the world | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  36. ^ Lawrence, Tom (13 August 2012). "Global praise for 'superb' London 2012 Olympics - Home News - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  37. ^ Campbell, Denis. "Michael Gove's political own goal on school sports | Education". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  38. ^ "School Games Regional Breakdown" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2012. 
  39. ^ Cecil, Nicholas (14 August 2012). "Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt fast-tracks Chinese visas to lure tourists - UK - News - London Evening Standard". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  40. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Lansley replaced by Hunt in health job". BBC News. 4 September 2012. 
  41. ^ Helm, Toby; Syal, Rajeev (16 August 2009). "Key Tory MPs backed call to dismantle NHS". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Loading". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  43. ^ Smith, Rebecca (4 September 2012). "Jeremy Hunt is controversial appointment as Health Secretary". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  44. ^ "Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, thinks homeopathy works". London: 4 September 2012. 
  45. ^ Boseley, Sarah; Mason, Rowena (8 May 2014). "Jeremy Hunt sent homeopathy studies to chief medical officer". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  46. ^ "Abortion limit reduction favoured by Jeremy Hunt". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  47. ^ James, Oliver (24 June 2013). "When Jeremy Hunt can become health secretary, it's a sign Britain is sick | Oliver James | Comment is free". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  48. ^ Mason, Rowena (30 June 2013). "Crackdown on NHS 'health tourists'". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  49. ^ "Jeremy Hunt crazy to call hospital bosses, says regulator". BBC News. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  50. ^ Cooper, Charlie (31 December 2013). "Exclusive: ‘It was no accident’ - Government blamed for A&E crisis". The Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  51. ^ "Unions threaten strike action over NHS pay settlement". The Guardian. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  52. ^ "Patient choice is not key to improving performance, says Hunt". Health Service Journal. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  53. ^ Bloom, Dan (22 July 2015). "MPs will debate Jeremy Hunt sacking petition - but Tories could block it at first hurdle". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  54. ^ Smith, Mikey (27 July 2015). "Andy Burnham promises to table vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt after 200,000 sign petition". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  55. ^ "NHS (Contracts and Conditions)". Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  56. ^ Association, Press. "Junior doctors to be balloted for strike action, says British Medical Association". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-10. 
  57. ^ 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. 
  58. ^ "The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m... and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories | Daily Mail Online". 23 May 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Virginia Bottomley
Member of Parliament
for South West Surrey

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Hugo Swire
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
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Ben Bradshaw
Shadow Minister for the Olympics
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Tessa Jowell
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Ben Bradshaw
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
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Secretary of State for Health
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