Jeremy Hunt Keeps Seat in Parliament, Avoiding ‘Portillo’ Shock

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt retained his Parliament seat in the UK general election, avoiding a defeat that would have forever linked his name with a Conservative rout.

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Hunt’s victory is a bright spot for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tories on a night of widespread losses for the ruling party. The chancellor, who was credited with restoring stability to the UK’s finances after former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget in 2022, was a key target of Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters in the Tories’ “blue wall” heartland in southern England.

Hunt, 57, told Bloomberg last month that he expected that the election could come down to 1,500 votes and him being defeated would’ve been akin to the moment that former Defense Secretary Michael Portillo lost his seat in Labour’s 1997 landslide win. In the end, Hunt clung on with a tiny majority of 891 votes.

“When you lose the trust of the electorate all that matters is having the courage and humility to ask yourself why,” Hunt said after the result was announced in his constituency of Godalming and Ash. “Across the country tonight is a bitter pill to swallow.”

Hunt’s survival comes as other big Tory names have lost their seats, including former leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt and Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

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