Jeremy Hunt: who is new UK chancellor, who did he replace, how long was he Health Secretary for?
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The former foreign and health secretary has stepped into Number 11, Downing Street has announced. His move to the chancellor’s office came after former Prime Minister Liz Truss sacked Kwarteng after coming under pressure following their disasterous mini-budget.
The announcement on 23 September sparked turmoil in the economic markets as well as backlash among Conservative PartyMPs. Kwarteng cut short his attendance at the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting in Washington, flying back to London to be sacked by the PM on 14 October.
Former foreign secretary Hunt replaced Kwarteng and following the fall of Truss’ premiership has remained in the role in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet. He is set to unveil his economic statement in the coming week and is a guest on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
But who is Jeremy Hunt? Has he held roles in the government before? Here is all you need to know:
Who is Jeremy Hunt?
Born in Kensington on 1 November 1966, Hunt is the MP for South West Surrey. He has held the seat since the 2005 general election.
He rose to prominence as the health secretary under David Cameron, remaining in the role under Theresa May as well. Hunt ran against Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative party leadership election, but lost the membership vote.
He was a high profile backer of former Chancellor Rishi Sunak during his first campaign to become Prime Minister during the summer. Sunak lost in the membership vote as Truss was selected as Johnson’s replacement, however her career as PM lasted just 53 days.
Prior to his career in politics, Hunt studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he got into Conservative politics and was a contemporary of Johnson and Cameron at the famous education institute.
He worked as a management consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants for two year after university, before going to Japan to teach English. Hunt started a PR firm called Profile PR specialising in IT in 1991.
Hunt became the MP for South West Surrey during the 2005 General Election replacing the incumbent Conservative MP Virginia Bottomley as she was made a peer.
Following the election of Mr Cameron as Prime Minister in 2010, Mr Hunt served as Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport until 2012. He was then made the health secretary, a position he is perhaps best known as.
Hunt served as Foreign Secretary under Theresa May from July 2018 to July 2019. Since 2020 he has served as Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.
Is he still Chancellor?
Following the sacking of Kwarteng, it has been confirmed that Hunt will replace him as chancellor under Prime Minister Liz Truss. Downing Street announced the change at Number 11 on Friday 14 October.
It is a move that is likely to signal a major shift in policy direction. A more centrist figure, Mr Hunt is unlikely to share Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss’s ideological free market commitment to tax cuts.
Mr Hunt becomes the fourth person to hold the position of chancellor in 2022. Following Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi and Kwarteng.
He remained in the role following the change in PM and Sunak, who Hunt had backed in the summer, has kept him as chancellor in his cabinet.
How long was he health secretary for?
Mr Hunt is perhaps best known for being the health secretary for a large part of the 2010s. He is the longest-serving health secretary.
He took up the position on 4 September 2012, moving from his role as the culture secretary. He held the position until 9 July 2018, serving under the premierships of both Mr Cameron and Mrs May.