Tag Archives: jeremy hunt

How able is “negotiator” Hunt as compared to Johnson?

The Tory leadership campaign of Jeremy Hunt is, according to himself and many supporting MPs in the media, based upon the premise that Hunt will be (far) more trusted and more easily welcomed at EU negotiating tables than Johnson. They say this is the case because the European players (national ministers, EU negotiators like Barnier) have come to know him as sitting Foreign Secretary, and that they would trust him more than Boris (who they also know from his accident-prone Brexit spell at the Foreign Office).

Hunt also insists he has experience as an entrepreneur, including negotiating deals, which Johnson lacks because he was a journalist, not a businessman, between his public school/Oxbridge education and his political career.

But right at the start of his term as Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt made a massive negotiating gaffe while trying to use his personal background to curry favour with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

At the start of his business career, Hunt had learned Japanese to be able to work as an English language teacher in Japan in the late 1980s; and minister Wang Yi studied Japanese and was a former ambassador in Japan (2004-07). As a minister in Cameron’s shadow cabinet, Hunt in 2008 met and married his Chinese wife, Lucia Guo. As the new Foreign Secretary negotiating in Beijing in July 2018, Hunt and Wang Yi had been speaking in Japanese, when Hunt, switching to English, made his gaffe when he talked about his wife and her parentage. According to the BBC, Hunt said “My wife is Japanese – my wife is Chinese. Sorry, that’s a terrible mistake to make.” The company at the table politely laughed it off, and Hunt went on to say that he and his wife had close ties with his in-laws still living in the Chinese city Xi’an.

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1 July 2019 – today’s press releases

‘No-deal war chest’ shows Hunt lost all sense of reality

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s proposed ‘£6 billion war chest’ to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Hunt’s ‘no-deal war chest’ is no more based in fact than the mythical promises that were made during the referendum. £6 billion is nowhere near enough to protect the people of Britain from a no-deal Brexit.

Jeremy Hunt keeps promising that he will mitigate the effects of no-deal on British business, but what he could do is just not throw our economy under the bus in the first place.

It is

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Jardine: Hunt faces an impossible challenge

Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine clearly doesn’t envy Jeremy Hunt’s task – even if he can’t do any worse than his predecessor:

Jeremy Hunt has been set a devastatingly low bar by his predecessor when it comes to basic competency, with him leaving a litany of errors in his wake. Hunt does, however, also face an impossible challenge when it comes to advocating for Britain around the world at a time when his Conservative government are doing huge damage to our economy and influence in their pursuit of Brexit.

The public demand better from their government than the farce that

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At some point the Tories will run out of people to blame for the state of the NHS…

I went through just about every emotion there is watching BBC2’s new series Hospital which follows events and pressures at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Partly because some of what was shown is just a bit too close to my recent experience, partly because of the life and death decisions made every day with too few resources, I was in tears several times.  One man awaiting cancer surgery is told at the last minute that they don’t know if they will be able to operate because there isn’t an Intensive Care bed available for him.

This comes as every news bulletin carries ever more harrowing accounts of the pressures in hospitals at the moment. What is the response of the Minister responsible? To blame the public. He talked  saying that 30% of A & E patients don’t need to be there as if it is their fault that they have no other option. If people could get GP appointments or had community pharmacies to go to, they would never need to go to A & E. Whose fault is it that they have no alternative? Step forward Mr Hunt.

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Lamb: Government wrong to impose junior doctors’ contract

Norman Lamb has commented on Jeremy Hunt’s ill-advised decision to impose the controversial contract on junior doctors. He said:

It is a mistake to force a new contract on junior doctors when there is clearly still such strong opposition to its terms. There is a serious risk that large numbers of junior doctors will leave the NHS to go and work abroad, which will have serious consequences for the health service and patient safety.

Growing demand for services, coupled with a funding settlement which doesn’t keep up, are the fundamental problems facing health and care and yet the Government is refusing to take real action to address this.

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Why IDS is still in his job is revealing of Conservative attitudes to social security

Iain Duncan SmithWhen Andrew Lansley’s health reforms ran into trouble – and his inability to take with him the public or those working in the NHS proved toxic – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Jeremy Hunt was brought in to make nice to the health sector and patients.

When Michael Gove’s education reforms started to run before they could walk – and his inability to take with him the public or the teachers proved toxic, especially in marginal constituencies – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Nicky …

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What links Jeremy Hunt and Peter Lilley? (Tip: If you’re not sure who they are, that’s the clue.)

Who’s the most famous cabinet minister? And who’s the least famous? That’s what YouGov set out to find out by inviting its representative sample of the public to type in the name, unprompted, of the post-holder of six senior cabinet positions. Here’s what they found…

identifiable cabinet ministers - yougov

So Iain Duncan Smith (36% correctly naming him as Work and Pensions secretary) and Jeremy Hunt (28% as health secretary) are the least famous cabinet members. Though, to be honest – like John Rentoul and with due respect to Mike Smithson …

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That NHS spending row in full

The story: Conservative Health secretary Jeremy Hunt ‘rebuked’ for claiming the Coalition has increased NHS spending in England.

The promise: that the NHS budget in England would be increased in real terms during the Coalition. That promise was kept (just) — the 2010 Spending Review committed the Coalition to a 0.1% real-terms annual increase.

The reality: the NHS did not spend all its budget in 2011/12. As a result, the out-turn in NHS spending has, probably, marginally fallen since 2009/10. Though the UK Statistics Authority concludes: “Given …

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Opinion: Questions for Jeremy Hunt on abortion

The Abortion Act 1967 Act was passed when I was nine months old. Women of my generation have grown up believing our rights were safe and our bodies were our own. Even those who had never heard of a backbench MP named David Steel had reason to be grateful to him for ensuring that women could not be forced by the state to continue with pregnancies they did not want.

Women of my generation and others now have to wake up and realise that the settlement, we thought was so safe, is no longer. Thanks to the Coalition, the Health Service is now in the hands of

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Jeremy Hunt: I disagree with him, but why shouldn’t he give his view?

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is at the centre of a new row this morning after giving an interview to The Times in which he said his personal view is that the legal abortion limit should be cut to 12 weeks. Here’s how the Telegraph reports it:

“Everyone looks at the evidence and comes to a view about when they think that moment is, and my own view is that 12 weeks is the right point for it,” Mr Hunt told The Times. … “It’s just my view about that incredibly difficult question about the moment that we should deem life

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Jeremy Hunt rings in a gaffe-free Olympics

Have you recently suffered an accident which wasn’t your fault?

Were you nonchalantly strolling past the Culture Secretary on HMS Belfast one sunny morning when you were abruptly hit on the head by a heavy brass bell?

If so, please contact “Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne” as a matter of urgency….

Jeremy Hunt is 97.

Posted in Humour | Also tagged | 4 Comments

PMQs: Coalition comrades and Kettering cabinets

David Cameron rather wiped the floor with Ed Miliband yesterday. He did so with the very simple device of producing a letter from Sir Alex Allan, regarding the Hunt BSkyB imbroglio, which stated:

The fact that there is an on-going judicial inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could usefully add to the facts in this case.

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes: Hunt vote – we need to save our energy for the battles that really matter

The vote in the Commons today is the latest highlight of the long running Phone hacking-BSkyB-Leveson saga.  It has been billed as an explosive vote that will tear the coalition asunder.  The Parliamentary party has unanimously decided to abstain, a position I strongly support for very good reasons.  We may well see traditional anti-Lib Dem rent-a-quotes like Peter Bone slamming us for betrayal but this is almost certainly a sign that we are doing the right thing.  Indeed, given our rather shaky performance in how we conduct Government to date, this is a refreshing sign that we might be back …

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Jo Swinson: there are questions to be answered over Jeremy Hunt

Nick Clegg’s Parliamentary aide Jo Swinson was up early on BBC Breakfast this morning to talk about Liberal Democrat MPs’ decision not to support Jeremy Hunt in the Commons tonight.

She started off by saying that the Prime Minister’s decision not to refer the Culture Secretary to the Independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code was not a collective one therefore the Liberal Democrats were not bound by collective responsibility. The decision not to refer Hunt is not endorsed by the Liberal Democrats therefore we would not be voting with the Conservatives tonight.

The Voice wonders if the real issue is the exclusivity …

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Whether you regard Jeremy Hunt as guilty or innocent, an investigation is a must

The news that Liberal Democrat MPs are to abstain on a Labour motion calling upon David Cameron to refer Jeremy Hunt’s conduct to Sir Alex Allan is a disappointment. To be blunt, it is all very well letting it be known via ‘sources’ that we do not approve of the failure to refer the ‘Hunt Affair’, but then to stand aside when an opportunity to press the matter arises will not be understood by anyone outside the Westminster bubble.

Indeed, I would suggest that, if Jeremy Hunt wants to be anything other than a lame duck Secretary of State, he should …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged | 33 Comments

Why Gordon Brown should be voting for Jeremy Hunt tomorrow

Gordon BrownYesterday, at the Leveson Inquiry, Gordon Brown declined to take responsibility for the activities of his special advisers.

Tomorrow, Parliament debates whether Jeremy Hunt should take responsibility for the activities of one of his special advisers.

So I think we can work out which way Gordon Brown will be voting tomorrow, can’t we?

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Lib Dems will not support Hunt

From the BBC:

Lib Dem MPs are to abstain in a Commons vote on Wednesday calling for an investigation into whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has broken the ministerial code of conduct.

Labour want his handling of News Corp’s BSkyB bid examined by David Cameron’s adviser on ministers interests.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson said Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg had told a meeting of his MPs and peers not to “support the Tories on this one” and “to stay away”.

Mr Cameron has fully backed Mr Hunt.

Posted in News | 49 Comments

Oakeshott: Jeremy Hunt should have resigned

There is widespread press coverage today about this. For example, the Independent reports:

A senior Liberal Democrat has said culture secretary Jeremy Hunt should have resigned following his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about News Corp’s failed takeover of BSkyB.

Lord Oakeshott, who was one of Vince Cable’s closest colleagues when the business secretary was overseeing News Corp’s ill-fated bid, said Rupert Murdoch’s empire was treated differently from other firms by the Government and criticised Mr Hunt, saying “no self-respecting minister” would have stayed in his post.

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Hunt out to dry? Clegg refuses to back Tory culture secretary as Lib Dem MPs push inquiry

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is piling the pressure on Jeremy Hunt, whose closeness to the Murdoch empire has been embarrassingly laid bare by the Leveson Inquiry in the past few weeks, by refusing to endorse David Cameron’s decision not to refer his culture secretary to the official adviser on the ministerial code, Sir Alex Allan. Here’s how The Observer is reporting it:

Nick Clegg refuses to back Jeremy Hunt as Lib Dems demand investigation

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has refused to give unequivocal backing to Jeremy Hunt over his handling of the BSkyB takeover controversy as senior Liberal

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VIDEO: Stomping off in the middle of a debate is never a good look…

The Twittyblogsphere is abuzz with this one. Number Ten Communications director, Craig Oliver is allegedly “caught on camera” berating the BBC’s Norman Smith about a News at Six report. Oliver says he was “genuinely shocked” by the report and that it was based on “opinion rather than impartial reporting of the facts”. He also says he has complained to Smith’s boss about the report. He seems most upset by the “spider’s web” graphic which featured with the report.

Then at the end he stomps off, leaving a rather bemused Smith.

It’s a calm, even boring discussion. But, it is all very redolent of the “hairdryer” school of Campbell/Mandelson.

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LDV Caption Competition: Boris & Dave “Happily ever after” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

Here is re-elected London mayor Boris Johnson with his fellow Etonian, Tory leader David Cameron. After this week’s local election results, what do you think might be being said or thought by or about them?

And the winners of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, David Cameron & Jeremy Hunt “Human shield” Edition.

Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Six thoughts on the results so far (UPDATED)

An update to my earlier post, adding in the YouTube clip and reflecting a couple of other pieces of news, though still pre-London results.

For the overall picture, see my views on BBC Breakfast from the amazing new Salford studios this morning:

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 80 Comments

David Cameron’s jibe at Dennis Skinner: forget the ageism, it was just badly done.

David Cameron, it became clear today, was not impressed by Commons Speaker John Bercow’s decision to grant Labour leader Ed Miliband an urgent question on the subject of Jeremy Hunt’s hanging-by-a-thread career as culture secretary. His not-impressedness manifested itself as indignant anger — it was “spectacularly ill-judged” according to the Telegraph’s Iain Martin:

From the off Cameron’s approach was wince-inducingly ill-judged. He rushed his statement and sounded steadily more touchy as he got deeper into it, lashing out and even shouting at one point about Charlie Whelan. It wasn’t very Prime Ministerial.

Mr Cameron has faced particular stick for his dismissive suggestion to veteran Labour backbencher Dennis Skinner that it was time he took his pension:

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a post I really wanted to write. But I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign over the Murdoch affair. Lord, I hate myself.

Anyway, ‘why so?’, you’re all bellowing at the screen. Let me explain

As of now, Jeremy Hunt has not been shown to have done anything wrong, and he maintains he has been whiter than white. The blame has been laid firmly at the door of his SpAd, Adam Smith, who has dutifully fallen his sword. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, so no reason for Hunt to go as yet.

Hence the …

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LDVideo: Clegg – we don’t need Hunt inquiry. Hughes – we need Hunt inquiry

Here’s Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg saying that the Leveson Inquiry is the best place for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to give evidence about his role in the BSkyB takeover bid…

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

PMQs: Miliband hits barn door – twice

Britain back in recession, embarrassing emails about government links to Murdoch. These are gifts to the opposition. The most open of open goals at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

I liked Miliband’s opening question:

Today we had the catastrophic news that Britain is back in recession. I am sure that the Prime Minister has spent the past 24 hours thinking of an excuse as to why it is nothing to do with him, so what is his excuse

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Simon Hughes calls for independent inquiry into Jeremy Hunt

As the BBC News reports here, Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes last night called for the independent advisor on the ministerial code to investigate whether the allegations that Conservative culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was too friendly to the Murdochs are accurate:

Deputy leader Simon Hughes has become the first senior Liberal Democrat to join calls for an inquiry into whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code of conduct. Downing Street says there are no plans to investigate the contact between News Corp and Mr Hunt’s ex-special adviser. Mr Hughes said he could not understand why the issue

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The story of the Cabinet Minister hiding behind a tree

Well, it’s hardly been what you’d call a slow news week, has it?

In case you are frazzled by the ever changing headlines, I thought I’d bring one of the more bizarre Jeremy Hunt related stories to your attention.

Iain Martin in the Telegraph writes about the night in May 2010, the second week of the Coalition, when he went to attend a lecture given by James Murdoch.

The events he describes are farcical and are if you feel in need of a break, go and get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit and simply enjoy the story.

A little taster?

It was

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I would have sacked Vince Cable for standing up to Murdoch – what Ed Miliband said 16 months ago

Ed Miliband The SunJeremy Hunt is in hot water today following the revelations at the Leveson Inquiry of the closeness of his relationship with the Murdochs during their attempted takeover of BSkyB.

The culture secretary was handed quasi-judicial responsibility for handling the deal after Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable was snared by the Telegraph declaring war on the Murdoch empire before it became fashionable.

According to the Guardian, the Labour party ‘is likely to demand an urgent Commons statement from Hunt to set out the nature of

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Opinion: No political party should accept internships

Nick Clegg has launched a national internship scheme to increase social mobility, end inbuilt disadvantage and conform with the minimum wage.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has been criticised this week by a leading national campaign, Graduate Fog, for recruiting unpaid interns.

The climate is changing – and yet seemingly not in our own house. I (and presumably some of the Lib Dem Voice readership) have applied for Lib Dem internships, and there seems to be no concerted effort to clean up our party in this regard. I am white and middle-class and was only able to apply for internships over …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments
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