Team Hunt’s Quiet Leadership Threat

Despite yesterday’s tax-raising budget, Rishi’s “next PM” odds saw a huge boost, from 21% chance to 29% in the space of a few hours. Another point of note is that Jeremy Hunt is in third place on 8% after Keir Starmer, ahead of every other member of the government. Could Hunt’s chances of a successful second run be being underplayed however?

While Rishi’s slick comms operation is now under constant scrutiny, Hunt’s also had a ‘good pandemic’ thanks in no small part to two key former SpAds who have taken to working for Hunt even now he’s outside of government:

  • Christina Robinson now runs the Health Committee chair’s comms in a private capacity (thus doesn’t appear on his official staffing register) after SpAding for him between 2012 to 2019, and helping run his 2019 leadership campaign.
  • Fellow former SpAd Adam Smith – who was resigned in 2012 following the BskyB scandal – is also hired as his Chief of Staff.
  • Hunt’s even got his own health advisor – Dr Raf Kochaj – to advise on Covid.

Guido can think of a few cabinet ministers with less organised advisor set-ups…

Hunt made slashing corporation tax to just 12.5% his big post-Brexit pitch to Tory members last time around, to mach Ireland’s competitiveness. A well organised, tax cutting opponent should give Rishi pause for thought after he yesterday became the first chancellor – of any party – to raise corporation tax since 1974…

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