Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Jeremy Hunt

File:Jeremy Hunt Farnham 2010.JPG 
Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt (born 1 November 1966) is the British Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
He is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey.

Early life

The elder son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, a senior officer in the Royal Navy, Hunt was raised in Surrey close to the constituency that he now represents in Parliament.


Hunt was educated at Charterhouse School, an independent school near Godalming in Surrey, where he was head boy, followed by Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, where he achieved a First in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). He became President of Oxford University Conservative Association in 1987.

Life and career

Shortly after graduating, Hunt became a management consultant before resigning to become an English language teacher in Japan. Whilst living in Japan he became a proficient speaker of Japanese and an enthusiast of modern Japanese culture.
On his return to Britain, Hunt joined Profile PR, a public relations agency specialising in IT which he co-founded with Mike Elms, a childhood friend. With clients such as BT, Bull Integris, and Zetafax Profile did well during the IT boom of the mid 1990s. Hunt and Elms later sold their interest in Profile to concentrate on directory publishing. Together they founded a company now known as Hotcourses a major client of which is the British Council. Hotcourses has provided financial support to Hunt's parliamentary office.
In September 2010, The Observer reported "raised eyebrows" that Hunt's former Parliamentary Assistant Hon Naomi Gummer had been given a job within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on a fixed-term civil servant contract
after Hunt had proposed departmental cuts of 35%-50%. The head of the Public and Commercial Services Union questioned Hunt's motives saying:-
Political independence of the civil service is a fundamental part of our democracy and we would be deeply concerned if this was being put at risk by nepotism and privilege.
Gummer is the daughter of Tory peer Lord Chadlington who was a director of Hotcourses between 2000 and 2004.
Hunt was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.

Member of Parliament

Hunt was elected at the 2005 General Election, after Virginia Bottomley - a former member of the Board of Trustees of British Council - became a Life Peeress. He won the constituency with an increased majority of 5,711.
After supporting David Cameron's bid for leadership of the Conservative Party, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Disabled People in December 2005. In David Cameron's reshuffle of 2 July 2007, Hunt joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.
He launched his own YouTube Channel in March 2008.
Hunt has been actively involved in many local campaigns within South West Surrey. These include campaigning; against closure of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of The Royal Surrey Hospital, against closure of Milford Hospital, for protecting community beds at Haslemere Hospital. He cites the successful campaign to save the Royal Surrey County Hospital as his proudest political achievement so far.

Political views

An ardent Tory of the same generation as David Cameron and Boris Johnson, Hunt became involved in politics during the Thatcher Years of the 1980s - a period which coincided with his time at Oxford University, where he was active in the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA). Hunt was one of the four Conservative MPs who voted in favour of the 2010 Digital Economy Act.


In 2009 Hunt was investigated by a "sleaze watchdog," the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after allowing his political agent to live in his taxpayer funded home in Farnham as a lodger from November 2005 to June 2007. The commissioner found
Mr Hunt was in breach of the rules in not reducing his claims on the Additional Costs Allowance in that period to take full account of his agent's living costs. As a result, public funds provided a benefit to the constituency agent... But I accept that Mr Hunt received no real financial benefit from the arrangement and that the error was caused by his misinterpretation of the rules.
Hunt’s offer to repay half the money, i.e. £9,558.50 was accepted.
Hunt also had to repay £1,996 for claiming the expenses of his Farnham home whilst claiming the mortgage of his Hammersmith home. The commissioner said
Mr Hunt has readily accepted that he was in error, and in breach of the rules of the House, in making a claim for utilities and other services on his Farnham home in the period during which it was still his main home. He has repaid the sum claimed, £1,996, in full. It is clear that, as a new Member in May 2005, his office arrangements were at best disorganised. [10]
The Legg Report showed no other outstanding issues.[11] Hunt's expenses were ranked 568 out of 647 in 2008-2009 and 548 out of 645 in 2007-8.[12]

Hillsborough comments

Hunt attracted controversy for suggesting football hooliganism played a part in the death of 96 football fans in the Hillsborough disaster. He later apologised saying "I know that fan unrest played no part in the terrible events of April 1989 and I apologise to Liverpool fans and the families of those killed and injured in the Hillsborough disaster if my comments caused any offence."

Culture Secretary

As the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Hunt oversaw an expansion of the responsibilities of his Department. Competition and policy issues relating to media and telecommunications became the responsibility of the culture secretary; they were removed from the purview of the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, after Cable was recorded stating that he had "declared war" on News Corporation.
Hunt was consequently given the quasi-judicial power to adjudicate over News Corporation's proposal to take full control of the satellite broadcasting company British Sky Broadcasting. Hunt elected not to refer to the deal to the Competition Commission, announcing on 3 March 2011 that he intended to accept a series of undertakings given by News Corporation, paving the way for the deal to be approved.

Personal life

Hunt married Lucia in 2009. They have a son (born May 2010).

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