Jeremy Hunt: Who is the chancellor and former health secretary?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Spring Budget on Wednesday which is expected to include a series of measures aimed at getting the UK’s economy growing as well as continuing to tackle runaway inflation.

Mr Hunt is expected to increase the lifetime allowance on tax-free pension savings from £1.07 million, as part of a ‘Back to Work Budget’ he said was aimed at encouraging some of the country’s wealthiest people to stay in employment for longer while enticing retirees back to the office.

It is the second fiscal statement by Mr Hunt since he took office in September last year during the dying days of the Liz Truss administration. He kept his job as chancellor when Rishi Sunak took over as prime minister in October.

Who is Jeremy Hunt?

Mr Hunt is a respected name in the Conservative Party and has twice run unsuccessfully to become the party leader.

On his first attempt in 2019, he came closest, finishing second in the leadership race with Boris Johnson going on to win.

In the leadership race to replace Mr Johnson last summer, he dropped out early after failing to secure enough votes from his fellow MPs. He went on to support Rishi Sunak ahead of Ms Truss, who appointed him chancellor after sacking Kwasi Kwarteng.

Steve Brine, a Tory MP and ally of Mr Hunt who previously worked with him at the department of health, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme at the time that Mr Hunt was “very much” the man to steady the ship after the chaos of Ms Truss’s administration.

Jeremy Hunt arrives at his home in London after he was appointed chancellor


He called Mr Hunt “calm personified” and said that the Conservative Party needed to unite.

“At the end of the day, everybody – detractor or otherwise – should want this government to succeed,” Mr Brine said.

“And [what] I know about Jeremy [is] that he won’t be licking his lips at the prospect of becoming chancellor at this time. But this is a moment to be there for the country, and in my experience, it’s always been country first, and he will see that as his job right now.

“You should see Liz Truss as the chairman and Jeremy Hunt as the chief executive. And I think he’ll be a very effective chief executive and like a new football manager coming in, at the end of the day the supporters are happy when the team is winning.”

What is his political background?

Mr Hunt has served as culture secretary, health secretary and foreign secretary since first being elected to Parliament at the 2005 general election, taking over from Virginia Bottomley as the Conservative MP for South West Surrey.

In his first major role in government, from 2005 to 2007, he was the shadow minister for disabled people as a reward for supporting David Cameron – who attended Oxford University at the same time as him – in the Conservative leadership contest.

When the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government was formed in 2010, Mr Hunt joined the cabinet as secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport.

The role propelled him onto the main stage as London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games, during which time he worked closely with Mr Johnson, who was then the mayor of London.

However, in that same year, Mr Hunt faced calls to resign over his role in the BSkyB takeover bid. Then-Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Hunt should quit over his contact with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire while he was considering the bid, which was later withdrawn. But he survived the row and, in September 2012, was appointed health secretary.

Mr Hunt faced his first major backlash during his time as health secretary. He held office during a slow period of investment in the NHS, which created problems at a time when demands on the health service were growing.

He also faced criticism over his handling of plans to introduce new contracts for junior doctors.

Jeremy Hunt will be the ‘chief executive’ to Liz Truss’ chair, an ally of the new chancellor said

That prompted medics to take part in a series of walk-outs in 2016, leaving emergency care uncovered – the first time that had happened in the history of the NHS. A new contract for junior doctors was later imposed.

But Mr Hunt did go on to secure a funding increase for the NHS and also oversaw the introduction of an Ofsted-style system for rating hospitals and GP surgeries in England.

His long-running tenure as health secretary ended when he became foreign secretary in July 2018 after his predecessor Mr Johnson was forced out of Theresa May’s cabinet.

During his time as foreign secretary between 2018/19, Mr Hunt tried to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who had been held in Iran on spying charges, which she always denied.

After her eventual release in 2022 when Ms Truss was foreign secretary, Mr Hunt accused the UK of “diplomatic failure” and said global cooperation was needed to “stamp out” states taking people hostage.

Left out of Mr Johnson’s government, he was elected to head a committee of MPs that scrutinises the performance of the NHS and government health policy in January 2020. He led that panel in questioning Dominic Cummings, former chief adviser to the PM, over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, Mr Hunt revealed he had cancer but had since recovered. He said at the time that “every member of his family” has had the disease and that he had “a minor one” himself.

Where did Mr Hunt stand on Brexit?

During the 2016 EU referendum, Mr Hunt sided with Mr Cameron as a Remainer, but afterwards said he would support Leave.

Jeremy Hunt after losing to Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership race


After losing to Mr Johnson in the 2019 party leadership race, Mr Hunt said his campaign was “always going to be uphill” because he had voted Remain and was therefore out of step with many of his colleagues.

Where was Mr Hunt educated?

Mr Hunt was born in Kennington, central London, in 1966 but brought up in the Surrey town of Godalming. He attended Charterhouse School, where he became head boy and is said to have excelled at cross-country running.

He was also head of the school magic society, where he has said he learnt an “exacting art” that requires “confidence in presentation”.

At Oxford, where he received a first-class degree in philosophy, politics and economics, he put his name out into the political sphere for the first time when he served as president of the Conservative Association.

What businesses does Mr Hunt own?

Prior to his career in Parliament, the 55-year-old worked as an English teacher in Japan and was an entrepreneur – co-founding the Hotcourses education publisher.

When the business was sold in 2017, he netted a reported £14m, making him one of the UK’s richest politicians.

Mr Hunt has said he will use the money to fund campaigns after he leaves politics.

Who is his wife?

Jeremy Hunt met his wife Lucia Guo in 2008 at a Hotcourses event in Warwick, where she worked to recruit Chinese students to the university.

The pair married a year later and now have three children together.

Jeremy Hunt with his wife Lucia


It has been revealed that Lucia’s nickname for her husband is “Big Rice” because her Chinese grandmother struggled to pronounce “Jeremy” so she called him “Big Mi” meaning “Big Rice.”

Who are their children?

Their son Jack was born in 2010, with daughter Anna following two years later.

Their youngest child Eleanor was born in 2014.

Where does the family live?

The Hunts live in Pimlico in central London, part of the borough of Westminster.

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