Fringe Box



National Newspaper Speculation that Jeremy Hunt Might not Stand for New Constituency

Published on: 22 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 29 Oct, 2023

Jeremy Hunt and Paul Follows

By Martin Giles

There is speculation that Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt might stand down as an MP before the next election.

See comment from Jeremy Hunt’s private office below.

Currently the MP for South West Surrey, he was expected to stand for the new Parliamentary seat of Godalming and Ash, formed following boundary changes. The new constituency includes parts of the old Guildford constituency such as Cranleigh and Shalford.

See: Jeremy Hunt Selected as Tory Candidate for New Godalming and Ash Constituency

Jeremy Hunt MP

But The Guardian is reporting that senior Conservatives, say the chancellor is aware he could suffer a “Michael Portillo” moment on polling day and that they expect him to announce he is stepping down much nearer to the election.

According to their article: “Rumours have been swirling among Surrey Conservatives and at Westminster to this effect, amid cataclysmic predictions of a wipeout for several serving cabinet ministers after more than 13 years in power.

“One former minister said that with a Labour government in prospect, the options for Hunt of fighting the new seat were not attractive, whether he won or lost: “Barring a miracle [of the Tories winning and forming another government], I can’t see Jeremy wanting to be in opposition under a new leader. And if he loses he will be the biggest scalp on election night. That is not a departure anyone would want. People in Surrey are saying he will not stand.”

But a spokesman for the Chancellor said on Friday that his position remained that he would stand. His decision might depend on his position when the election is called. It could look bad for his party if he stood down while Chancellor.

A cabinet reshuffle is likely soon. The Times reported in August that the prime minister was likely to postpone any reshuffle until this winter but there seems no obvious threat to Hunt’s position.

Paul Follows

The speculation comes after the Liberal Democrats announced they had selected Paul Follows as their candidate for the next general election. He is currently the leader of Waverley Borough Council.

The Lib Dems are claiming that the constituency is a two-horse race between them and the  Conservatives, quoting analysis by Election Maps UK which shows that if a general election was held now, the Lib Dem vote in Godalming & Ash would be just two points behind the Conservatives, 35.5 per cent to  37.5 per cent.

South West Surrey Election Result 2019. Paul Follows increased his percentage vote by nearly 30 per cent.

Of the speculation about Jeremy Hunt’s intentions, Paul Follows told The Dragon: “I of course have no direct knowledge of his intentions but it would not surprise me.

“Whether I am up against Jeremy or someone else, the country and our local area need a change of government and I’ll be working to lead that change here.

“Jeremy is a senior leader in that government and people are starting to notice how he votes in Parliament, against their interests. Often in stark contrast to what he says.

“What I can say for sure is that I will be on the ballot whenever there is a general election, standing to bring about that change.”

In an earlier press release, he said: “Residents tell me day in and day out that they want an MP that will stand up for them.

“I would be a strong voice for local people in Westminster and deliver a fairer deal for residents. As an MP I will fight to cut waiting times for GPs and dentists, fight to help families struggling with the cost of living and fight to protect our beautiful area from sewage dumping and fossil fuel drilling.”

October 23: A spokesman for Jeremy Hunt told The Dragon: “The story is nonsense – you only need to see how often Jeremy is out canvassing (which you can see on his Twitter account).

“Jeremy has also firmly denied it.”

Share This Post

Responses to National Newspaper Speculation that Jeremy Hunt Might not Stand for New Constituency

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    October 22, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    Nothing yet from Michael Gove. As a result of alienating boundary changes, Normandy has been offloaded onto Camberley which is even further away than Woking, where we last lodged.

    Has Angela Richardson [Conservative MP for Guildford] said anything yet? And why are the Lib Dems thought to be the alternative?

  2. Elaine McGee Reply

    October 23, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    I certainly hope Jeremy Hunt does run. Paul Follows showed his true colours when he was in favour of a, thankfully, thwarted town centre plan that was going to ruin Godalming aesthetically and financially.

  3. Paul Spooner Reply

    October 23, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Absolutely no evidence presented. Sad that The Dragon hides behind the left leaning Guardian and gives publicity to this typical Lib Dem attempt at raising the profile of their candidate. Complete nonsense.

    Paul Spooner is a former Conservative borough councillor and chairman of the Godalming & Ash Conservative Association.

  4. Bob Hughes Reply

    October 23, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    The changes made by the Boundary Commission will take a bit of getting used to, and the new Godalming & Ash Constituency is no exception. The malicious speculation from Cllr Paul Follows is the usual grand standing we have come to expect from him. The Guardian article about Jeremy Hunt is nonsense and designed to give Cllr Follows a platform. Like so many of his claims, this should be ignored.

    County Cllr Bob Hughes is also chairman of Surrey Area Conservatives

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *