Hunt makes a leadership move that he says is not a move
The main story on the front page of The Times this morning is a piece about Jeremy Hunt who was the health secretary in Theresa May’s government and of course, was the one who reached the final two in the leadership election 3 years ago.
Unlike colleagues at Westminster who are ministers, Hunt is in a much better position to take initiatives like this one and he must be pleased about the way the Times is covering it this morning.
I doubt if Number 10 will be amused but as I have noted in previous posts there has been a gap in “the obvious alternative to Johnson arena” following the collapse in the prospects of long-term favourite Rishi Sunak.
The Times report quotes Hunt as saying:
“I do think that we would be wrong to say that the setbacks the Conservative Party have are just mid-term blues, and there’s a big mountain to climb to win the next election.” In an interview with The Times Magazine to be published on Saturday, Hunt said that if Johnson were found to have misled parliament it would be “a very big deal”. Asked if he was discreetly preparing a leadership bid he replied: “As I said, I don’t think it’s the right time, but I would be very open with you that I don’t rule out a return in the future”. ..Hunt said some voters had been “horrified” by the revelations of lockdown breaches in Downing Street but that last week’s poor election results reflected broader underlying concerns about the economy. “Underneath it, I think the reason that we got such a kicking was economic concerns that many families had,” he said. “We are faced with a situation now where we have very, very low underlying growth in the economy.”
This is really putting the boot in and using as a peg the very poor Tory performance in last week’s local was smart because quite a number of Tory MPs must be feeling a bit more nervous right now. I like the way Hunt deals with the “mid-term” blues excuse.
In the next CON leader betting Hunt, Truss and Tugendhat are the top three and within a point of each other.