14:26 GMT +317 February 2019
Listen Live
    Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street for this morning's cabinet meeting in Westminster, London, Britain, July 10, 2018

    Jeremy Hunt's Journey to the UK's New Foreign Minister Post

    © REUTERS / Simon Dawson
    Get short URL
    0 02

    Jeremy Hunt's promotion came after the shock resignation of Boris Johnson amid the mounting Brexit crisis in the UK government.

    Jeremy Hunt, the former UK heath secretary, has been named UK Foreign Minister and will replace Boris Johnson, who resigned on Monday to protest Theresa May's soft-line position on Brexit negotiations.

    READ MORE: Jeremy Hunt Appointed as New UK Foreign Secretary, Replacing Boris Johnson

    A Brexiteer-turned-Remainer, the 51-year-old is a close ally of Theresa May and is set to steady the Tory ship in the Foreign Office and alter the Brexit balance in the government to May's advantage.

    Journey to the Foreign Office

    Educated at Charterhouse, an English boarding school, Jeremy Hunt attended Oxford University where he graduated with a first class honors degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

    He then went on to work for a management consultancy firm before going to Japan for two years, where he taught English. On his return to the UK, Jeremy set up a charity to help AIDS orphans in Africa and founded his own educational listing company, Hotcourses (in 2017, he became one of the country's wealthiest politicians after he sold his business for nearly $19 million).

    Hunt got his first big job in politics in 2005; he served as shadow minister for disabled people in 2005-2007 and shadow culture secretary in 2007-2010.

    His period as culture secretary in 2010-2012 was quite controversial as he was accused of a conflict of interest over the planned takeover of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

    His six-year tenure at the Department of Health in 2012-2018 made Jeremy Hunt the longest-serving health secretary in history. In February 2018, he acknowledged that the NHS winter crisis, which saw the cancellation of tens of thousands of operations as patients slept in hospital corridors, was the "worst ever."  However, last month Hunt managed to argue for a significant cash boost for the NHS' 70th birthday.

    Keeping Nose Clean

    His colleagues in Parliament note that Hunt has some qualities that may come in handy amid political turmoil: the ability to foresee political turnarounds, adjust to a situation, and maneuver.

    "He keeps his nose clean," a colleague of his told Sputnik some time ago.

    This quality can be illustrate by the fact that prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum, Hunt backed Remainers. However, in 2018 he said in an interview that he had changed the way he looked at Brexit, disappointed by "arrogance" in the EU's behavior during Brexit negotiations.

    At the moment, Britain's PM badly needs loyal people. Hunt, in turn, has expressed support for Theresa May at cabinet meetings and when talking to the media. Last weekend, he also backed May's point of view on post-Brexit trading relations with the EU, which was in contrast with the hardline stance of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis.

    Hunt inherits a problematic role at the Foreign Office; his predecessor Johnson is known for having been one of the most flamboyant government members. The new foreign minister, on the other hand, is not the one known for seismic remarks or inflammatory language.

    For instance, a pressing issue is the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British mother detained in Iran for over two years. Another cause for concern just around the corner is Donald Trump's upcoming visit to the UK, which will demand professionalism and sensitivity from the Foreign Office as the US President's trip will coincide with mass anti-Trump protests.

    government, appointment, minister, Brexit, David Davis, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt, United Kingdom