JEREMY Hunt is a nice guy with few enemies.
In the ruthless world of hardened politics, such qualities were considered a sign of weakness. Not anymore it seems.
Today they are considered assets for the man who will most likely be our next prime minister.
Even his only identifiable sin – a remainer in a group of stubborn Brexiteers – no longer seems an impediment to high office.
In the quicksand of the Tory tribe, the Europhile ex-Health Secretary is now seen as the last hope to save Liz Truss from the blow.
In unimaginable words, a pro-Truss Brexiteer told me three weeks ago: “Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor is a really good appointment.
“No one dislikes him and he’s never done anything bad wrong. He is now the de facto Prime Minister. That could be the answer.”
The answer to what? Keep BoJo “assassin” Rishi Sunak off Downing Street at all costs.
Jeremy Hunt is a Remainer bogeyman who tried to stop Britain leaving the EU single market, but there is only one rule for Westminster conspirators: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
It doesn’t matter if Jeremy is actually a friend of Rishi and has PMed him.
What matters to Boris’ supporters is that Jeremy stops him from making it in No.10.
Does he have the steel?
We will find out in two weeks when the new Chancellor presents his first emergency budget.
At this time of financial crisis, when UK plc’s reputation is in jeopardy, Hunt can’t help but feel offended. If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work.
The Chancellor’s first duty is to calm troubled money markets, revive the pound, fight inflation and keep mortgage rates low.
He must make painful tax and spending decisions, care for the poor, and tightly control expenses.
There must be a program for future tax cuts and less borrowing.
And he must prevent Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey from blaming everyone but himself for letting interest rates spiral out of control.
The reason they’re going to rise sharply again is because Bailey failed to act sooner to lower the cost of living.
A period of calm could take the pressure off Liz Truss, but Jeremy will have to endure the heat.
Chancellors should not be popular. If he gets this right, he will be the most powerful figure in government.
thirst for real power
Hunt ran the NHS as health chief for six years and knows how Whitehall works. He’ll probably deliver.
He claims two defeats in the Tory crown bids have “clinically excised” any ambitions.
But would he give up a third shot at the top job and give it to someone who isn’t even in government?
Ministers don’t reach cabinet rank without big egos and a thirst for real power.
Nobody – including Liz Truss – is more powerful today than Jeremy Hunt. He won’t step aside.
His surprise appointment as Chancellor changed all the dynamics.
Rishi may be brilliant, but he’s an ex-chancellor whose leadership campaign has shown he can be flat-footed. It’s not quite the flavor of the month anymore.
But even in these unprecedented times, it is an extraordinary turn of events that a vehement Remainer who lost the dispute is now backed by the Tory right to keep a Brexiteer out of Downing Street.
Grassroots members believed they would vote this summer to confirm the outcome of the 2016 referendum and final break with the EU in 2019.
They selected Liz Truss as a born-again Brexiteer and rejected Rishi Sunak for his alleged betrayal of their hero Boris Johnson.
Now they find themselves with a PM here today, gone tomorrow who could be replaced within days or weeks by a man who barely made the starting post this summer.
Conservatives risk being transformed overnight by the party that delivered Brexit three years ago into a Ted Heath-style 1970s relic advocating Brussels re-entry.
Proud to be a Londoner
I spent the weekend in a delightful rural town with clean sidewalks, a thriving main street, friendly shoppers, and not a shred of grass or a stab vest in sight.
Now, back in our capital, I’m on the lookout for opportunity violence.
Why? Because a close relative was threatened at 2am by a gang of hammer-wielding bike thieves.
Two innocent men were stabbed a stone’s throw away in broad daylight. County drug gangs are invading our park.
And an elderly neighbor who asked a man carrying a bicycle up narrow steps to wait a moment was rewarded with a slap in the face.
Makes you proud to be a Londoner, Mayor Khan.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6457371/jeremy-hunt-most-powerful-person-britain-next-prime-minister/ Jeremy Hunt is now the most powerful person in British politics – and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes our next Prime Minister