Will Jeremy Hunt be next prime minister? Will he enter race to replace Liz Truss, who did he support last time

A spokesman for Jeremy Hunt has discussed whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer will join the next Conservative leadership election

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Jeremy Hunt, who returned from the backbenches to serve as chancellor under Liz Truss earlier this month was pinned by some as the Prime Minister’s likely successor. Truss resigned this afternoon (20 October) but Hunt has not followed suit and is currently still serving as chancellor. A new Prime Minister will be selected in a week’s time - this is what Hunt has said about joining the race to replace Truss:

Chancellor Jeremy HuntChancellor Jeremy Hunt
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

Who is Jeremy Hunt?

Jeremy Hunt is Chancellor of the Exchequer, having been appointed by Prime Minister LIz Truss on 14 October this year to replace Kwasi Kwarteng - Hunt has been in the job for seven days. He is also MP for South West Surrey, winning his seat with 53.3% of the vote in 2019.

Hunt previously served as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care from 2012 to 2018, during a tumultuous period for the NHS which included the junior doctors strikes in 2015 and 2016.

Hunt also served as Foreign Secretary from 2018 to 2019 - he announced his campaign to become the leader of the Conservative Party in May 2019, following the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May - he and Boris Johnson were the final two candidates in the race, and Hunt was defeated by Boris, gaining one third of the vote.

He turned down the role of Secretary of State for Defence in Johnson’s Cabinet and served on the backbenches. After Johnson resigned, Hunt again announced that he would stand for the role Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, but was eliminated in the first round, gaining just 4% of the vote.

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime MinisterLiz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister
Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister

Who did Jeremy Hunt support in the Conservative leadership election?

After being eliminated in the first round of voting, Hunt endorsed his rival Rishi Sunak for the leadership position. Sunak and Truss were selected by MPs as the top two candidates to be voted on by members of the party - Sunak received 137 MP’s votes whilst Truss received 113. Ultimately, party leaders selected Truss for leader - she took 57.4% of the vote.

Will Jeremy Hunt compete to be the next Prime Minister?

When Hunt took over as chancellor from Kwarteng, he quickly reversed many of the decisions of his predecessor, which Truss had also endorsed, leading the press and some MPs to suggest that the chancellor was the real power in Westminster and that Truss was a Prime Minister in name only.

Following the resignation of Liz Truss, a spokesman for Hunt said today (20 October) that Hunt had ruled out standing for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

This echoes part of a statement he made in a BBC interview on 16 October in which he said he would not run a third time. Hunt said at the time: “I think having run two leadership campaigns and, by the way, failed in both of them, the desire to be leader has been clinically excised from me.”

Who will replace Liz Truss as Prime Minister?

It is not yet clear who will compete in the second Conservative leadership election of the year, although a new leader and Prime Minister is expected to be selected in the next week.

Conservative MP Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee, which oversees the election of party leaders, said that he expects Conservative party members will be involved in the election.

In the hours since Liz Truss resigned, there has been speculation that former chancellor and Truss challenger Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Suella Braverman, and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson would join the race to succeed Truss.