In the Hunt: why there is a surprise contender for next Tory leader

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CWill Jeremy Hunt be prime minister by this time next year – if not sooner?

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It is not unimaginable. It is the modern Tory party’s addiction to factionalism and conspiracy, it is an open secret that a vast number of Tory MPs, from various sides and places, are contemplating the succession of Boris Johnson, and with some urgency. To put things simply, Johnson doesn’t inspire much love or personal loyalty, and these days it doesn’t seem like he’s even commanding respect. He was as useful to the party as any election winner and “Brexit” person. It has now outlived its usefulness. Apart from Nadine Dorries and possibly Priti Patel, there are some at the top of the party who are ready to form a Praetorian Guard around the Prime Minister. Ideas are really turning to the next leadership succession. The two main contenders from within the cabinet are apparently Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, both grassroots darlings, but Hunt hasn’t been forgotten. His day may just come.

He has played a smart game since his loss to Boris Johnson in 2019. He has basically been loyal to the government, but has been critical and defiant when he deemed it necessary. The recent rebellion over the social care cap is a classic example. Hunt advised his fellow lawmakers not to vote against the “clingy” package, as it could be replaced by a future government (without a government led by Hunt). Theresa May and many others followed the same path, and ensured that the new social care cap was undertaken only by a narrowly dominant party, open to rebellion from the Lords or Johnson U-turns. His latest idea is a sensible proposal for the NHS to introduce a structured personnel and training plan. It has also adopted the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other effective hostages in Iran.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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