Robert Peston, an ITV reporter with years of experience made a gaffe live on air on Wednesday when talking about chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s cuts. Peston has been ITV’s political editor since 2015, and prior to that worked for the BBC as business editor, and economics editor.
But even consummate professionals have their off days, and everyone is prone to a slip of the tongue once in a while. It does seem that Jeremy Hunt, who has been a major player in UK politics since 2010, has received more than his fair share of accidental name calling.
What did Robert Peston say about Jeremy Hunt?
When talking about the government’s economic plan and the sudden u-turns after the change of chancellor on Wedensday evening, Peston said: “That means the hole in the public finances is even bigger than it would have been and Jeremy c**ts … Hunt’s cuts will be more painful.”
Yes, Peston dropped the C-bomb, live on air during an ITV News broadcast, though he quickly corrected himself and continued with the programme. Whoever decided to put ‘Hunt’s’ and ‘cuts’ next to each other on the autocue, given the history of presenters getting the chancellor’s name wrong, must have known they were playing a risky game.
Who else has called Jeremy Hunt the wrong name?
It’s happened surprisingly regularly, though not for a while as Hunt has spent most of the last few years on the backbenches. When he was Health Secretary his name was on the lips of newsreaders more often, as it is again now that he is chancellor.
One of the first times Hunt was misnamed was way back in 2010 when BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie said: “We’re going to be talking to Jeremy c**t, Hunt, the Culture Secretary, about broadband.”
Andrew Marr, made the same mistake the same day when introducing a discussion about Naughtie’s slip - the Hunt gaffe was fast becoming a self-sustaining mistake. In 2012, Sky News’ Jon Craig, referred to the then Health Secretary as ‘Mr. c**t’, Labour MP Harriet Harman accidentally dropped the C-bomb on Question Time that same year when expressing surprise that Hunt has been appointed as Health Secretary.
Sky News were the worst offenders in this arena, with broadcaster Claudia-Liza Armah also made the mistake in 2017, getting Hunt’s name right the first time but going for a double dip and falling at the final hurdle saying: “it looks like Jeremy c**t’s going to be coming out with that NHS pin on his jacket.”
In June 2019, BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire, asked MP Steve Brine about who he supported in the Tory leadership race to replace Theresa May - she said: “You say the man you are backing, Jeremy c***… I’m so sorry, Jeremy Hunt.”
It’s not quite in the same league, but Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy (who was suspended this week for intentionally calling MP Steve Baker a c**t) also landed a dig at Hunt earlier this week when he referred to him as ‘this week’s chancellor’.
Has Jeremy Hunt responded?
Hunt has not responded to every slip of the tongue made about him - he’s a busy man and this would take up a fair amount of his time. But he did allude to the slip ups in 2019 when asked if he was just a continuation of Theresa May - he replied: “Anyone who knows what my last name rhymes with will know I’ve been called a whole lot worse on the Today programme.”