Jeremy Hunt refuses to say whether Boris is an ‘honest man’ amid leadership speculation

Jeremy Hunt addresses Boris Johnson's Peppa Pig comments

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Mr Hunt, who served as Health Secretary from 2012 to 2018, appeared on the BBC’s ‘Sunday Morning’ show to discuss his recent book on the NHS. However, the former Foreign Secretary was also quizzed on his own leadership ambitions just days after Mr Hunt suggested he could run for Tory Party leader again. Despite claiming now is not the “right time” for a leadership challenge, Mr Hunt told Times Magazine: “I would be very open with you that I don’t rule out a return in the future.”

Mr Hunt had challenged Mr Johnson for the Conservative Party leadership in 2019 when the Remainer lost to the Brexiteer in the race to succeed Theresa May by 2:1 in the membership ballot.

After his defeat to Mr Johnson, Mr Hunt snubbed an offer to return to the Cabinet as Defence Secretary and instead headed to the Tory backbenches for the first time since 2005.

However, when asked by ‘Sunday Morning’ host Sophie Raworth if the Prime Minister was an “honest man”, Mr Hunt said: “I think that talking about personalities is not a helpful thing to do when I’ve just said I think we need to recognise that the international situation is very serious and we need strong leadership from the Prime Minister we have.”

Mr Hunt was also quizzed on whether Mr Johnson was the best person to lead the Conservative Party into the next election.

He replied: “I very much hope so. I hope he can turn things round, because I don’t think this is the moment for a leadership contest.”

Liberal Democrat business spokesperson Sarah Olney did not pull any punches when she responded to Mr Hunt’s appearance on the BBC.

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The Richmond Park MP told “Britain needs new leadership to get through this cost of living crisis, yet all we have is unfair tax hikes and a Prime Minister who can’t tell the truth.

“Jeremy Hunt is too cowardly to say what everyone else in Britain is thinking.

“Boris Johnson is a serial liar and not fit to govern this country.

She added: “It is time Jeremy Hunt carried out his patriotic duty and called time on Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.”

“As a Surrey MP, Jeremy Hunt should know the sheer anger felt in former Conservative heartlands at this Government.

“From Chesham and Amersham to last week’s local election results, it is clear the public have had enough.

“Britain can’t wait any longer. Conservative MPs need to stop shirking their responsibility.”

A Liberal Democrat source also suggested Mr Hunt could be at risk in his own seat after Sir Ed Davey’s party won 194 seats across England at the recent local elections.

They told “Conservative MPs across Surrey like Jeremy Hunt are feeling very nervous right now.

“Surrey is now one of the biggest election battlegrounds in the country. Voters in the home counties have had enough of Boris Johnson.”

The Liberal Democrats have enjoyed recent success in remain-voting southern England.

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Mr Hunt’s South West Surrey seat, as opposed to a majority of Tory constituencies, voted decisively to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum.

The source’s comments come just days after was shown a list of Tory MPs at risk of a Liberal Democrat revival in the so-called ‘Blue Wall’.

Mr Hunt was not included on the Liberal Democrats’ political hit list.

However, his former Cabinet colleague Dominic Raab, who served as Theresa May’s Brexit Secretary when Mr Hunt was in the Foreign Office, was included on the list.

Mr Raab’s nearby Surrey seat, Esher & Walton, has been earmarked by Liberal Democrat insiders after his 23,298-vote majority was slashed to just 2,743 in 2019.

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