Leadership race: What has Jeremy Hunt promised?

Jeremy Hunt has been considered the race underdog

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Jeremy Hunt may soon discover he is the surprise victor in the Conservative leadership battle, which ends on Tuesday.

Throughout his campaign to become Prime Minister he has said that although his rival Boris Johnson could "put a smile on your face”, only he is considering the finer details of delivering Brexit.

So what has he promised the British public?

 

On Brexit

Mr Hunt has been critical of his rival’s concrete pledge to leave the European Union on October 31 “do or die, come what may”.

“The trouble with 'do or die' is you could end up with a general election, [Jeremy] Corbyn in Downing Street and no Brexit at all,” he said.

He said he would pursue a no-deal Brexit “with a heavy heart” if he was unable to make a deal with Brussels, but that he will wait until the end of September before locking in the October 31 deadline.

“By the end of September, I, as Prime Minister, will make a judgment as to whether there is a realistic prospect of a deal that can get through Parliament in the short-term,” he explained.

Mr Hunt said he would rather resign as leader before suspending Parliament to force through a  no-deal Brexit - a key difference between him and Mr Johnson.

He has also ruled out calling a second referendum or general election.

He believes German chancellor Angela Merkel will be willing to renegotiate a Brexit deal once the new Prime Minister is sworn in.

 

On his Cabinet

Mr Hunt has offered his rival a range of cabinet positions in jest, ranging from Chancellor to the more trivial "Secretary of State for Collective Responsibility”.

He said Mr Johnson is “someone of enormous talent” who will have a big role moving forward.

He has also promised to select a woman for a top four job.

 

On foreign policy

As Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt has juggled meetings with world leaders alongside his leadership campaign.

He has criticised Donald Trump for “totally offensive” tweets targeting four Democrat congresswomen, however he declined to call the US leader’s comments "racist" in order to avoid damaging UK-US relations.

On Monday - the same day as talkRADIO's leadership debate - he travelled to Brussels for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in a bid to prevent the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal before returning to take part in the hustings.

 

On domestic policy

Mr Hunt has promised to create a £6 billion fund to handle a no-deal Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary has also pledged more warships and jets for the Royal Navy, as well as an extra £12 billion in defence spending per year from 2023.

A less successful policy announcement was on the topic of fox hunting. He was forced to backpedal only hours after he said he would move to repeal the ban on the bloodsport.

“The law is not going to change on fox hunting. There isn’t a majority in the House of Commons, I don’t see there ever being one,” he said following strong backlash.

On housing, Mr Hunt said new homes should be built “a bit higher than in the past” to protect the Green Belt.

"If you are going to protect those spaces you have to accept in our cities and towns we're going to have to make it easier for people to build up, not out,” he said.

 

On his personal life

When launching his leadership bid, Mr Hunt tweeted that he felt the same as he did on the "morning of my wedding".

"Woke up this morning and felt a bit like the morning of my wedding," he wrote at 8.21am on June 13.

"Something big is going to change but don't quite know how it will unfold #HastobeHunt."