In a relatively surprising turn of events, Hunt has been declared the new Chancellor of the Exchequer after arguably falling from the good graces of Johnson’s administration.
Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced that Hunt, former Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, and most notably the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care from 2012-2018, is the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The move comes as she prepares to make a drastic U-turn on policy direction concerning the mini-budget and the explosive opposition her government has faced as a result.
Truss, in a short Downing Street press conference of fewer than 10 minutes, announced that Jeremy Hunt, former foreign secretary, would become the new Chancellor, charged with making the sums add up after conceding to increase corporation tax- the policy Sunak was running with.
Truss said the move would raise £18bn, helping to fill the £45bn fiscal gap created by the “mini” Budget Kwarteng set out last month — which helped ignite turmoil in the bond and sterling markets.
Hunt ran for the Tory leadership against Truss, being knocked out early on.
Hunt then went on to support contender for leadership Rishi Sunak as opposed to Truss after losing out in an early voting round.
Overall, the move signals a massive policy direction overhaul, and an attempt to save the outpouring of discontent over the mini-budget.
Kwarteng was following Truss’ orders as PM. The sacking is an obvious attempt for the Prime Minister to distance herself from the policies she herself enacted as we observe constantly within governments.
Hunt, having served as MP for South West Surrey since 2005, has been a consistent presence amongst the Conservative Party since David Cameron’s administration.
The move, from an analytical perspective, is very much signalling a huge shift in policy. Truss may hope that long-serving Hunt is able to offer increased credibility. The public is well aware of Hunt, a factor that often determines appointments. Whether his tenure as Health Secretary will remain in the minds of voters could prove to be a double-edged sword.
Many commentators believe that the Conservative Party cannot handle the humiliation of these U-turns, a perception reflected in the massive lead Labour took in the polls for the first time since arguably pre-Cameron administration.
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