Fringe Box



Speculation on Surrey MP’s Future Continues But PM Thought To Be Standing By Him

Published on: 29 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 30 Oct, 2023

South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt at the 2019 general election count. Image LDRS.

By Martin Giles

Speculation about the position of Jeremy Hunt, the MP for South West Surrey and Chancellor of the Exchequer, continues in the national press.

The Independent is reporting that he has been told his job is safe until at least the spring, amid claims he could be sacked at Rishi Sunak’s next reshuffle.

According to the online newspaper: “There had been growing speculation at Westminster that Mr Hunt could fall foul of changes to cabinet – with some Conservatives calling on the PM to axe his ‘bland’ chancellor.”

Frustration from the right-wing of the party has come in the wake of two very bad by-election results, Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire, and a recent YouGov poll shows that around seven in ten voters think Mr Sunak is doing badly on the economy, the cost of living crisis and the NHS.

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

But the Prime Minister is believed to have decided to stick with Jeremy Hunt, who stepped in at No 11 after the havoc wreaked by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget last year.

A Westminster insider told The Dragon that many Tory MPs are very pessimistic about their chances at the next election as time runs out for a significant change to their electoral chances.

One Tory MP is reported to have told The Daily Mail that Mr Hunt was “certainly not being a Tory chancellor” and that Mr Sunak should be “courageous” enough to get rid of someone so “bland” and “timid” and almost 40 Tory MPs and peers have signed ex-chairman Jake Berry’s pledge to vote against the autumn statement if Mr Hunt increases “the overall tax burden”.

However, No 10 seems to be briefing that he is safe in his job and would be delivering the budget in March next year. Mr Sunak is thought to have decided that the Surrey MP remains the best person to restore stability and credibility.

The new Godalming & Ash Parliamentary constituency.

Following a request to comment on the story last week, a spokesman for Mr Hunt dismissed rumours that he is set to quit parliament by standing down in his new Godalming & Ash constituency. The “blue wall” seat would normally be regarded as a safe Conservative seat but is now a Lib Dem target, as is Guildford.

Paul Spooner, former leader at Guildford Borough Council and now chair of the Godalming & Ash Conservative Association, which, in January, selected Jeremy Hunt as its candidate, has said the speculation about his intentions to stand were “complete nonsense.”

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


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