ANDREW PIERCE: Jeremy Hunt’s headache… Will the Budget cost him his seat? 

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ANDREW PIERCE: Jeremy Hunt’s headache… Will the budget cost him his seat?

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Jeremy Hunt is promising “dazzling” spending cuts and tax hikes in this week’s highly anticipated budget, an event he seems to be approaching with, dare I say, sadistic relish.

But his eagerness to impose an even greater tax burden on the middle class could have dramatic consequences for his own political future.

For Hunt has been dealt a bad hand in the proposed parliamentary constituency boundary changes, which were published last week and take effect next summer.

Hunt’s constituency of South West Surrey will be split in two, making both new seats very marginal for the Tories. He is not very happy about the prospect. “I need to understand the implications of the report, which are terrible for me personally,” he said.

Jeremy Hunt has been badly treated in proposed parliamentary constituency boundary changes, which were published last week and will become law next summer

Jeremy Hunt has been badly treated in proposed parliamentary constituency boundary changes, which were published last week and will become law next summer

“After proudly representing Godalming, Farnham & Haslemere (and their surrounding villages) for over 17 years, it looks like I will have to choose between two halves of a constituency that is effectively being sliced ​​in half – a frankly impossible and heartbreaking choice. We have now been discussing for four weeks and I will not rush into this very difficult decision.’

After representing a constituency that has consistently produced a Tory MP since its formation in 1983, Hunt knows his budget is not what the Tory faithful want.

It presents him with the possibility of electoral humiliation in 2024 – the first serving post-war finance minister to lose his seat in a general election.

Pioneering female broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell wasn’t always a paragon of decency.

Reminiscing about her early days at the BBC, the woman who in less-enlightened times has been called “the thinking man’s crumpets” told Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch podcast: “People could call, sometimes we would pretend and call our own messages. Several people used to do that, Barry Humphries being one because he could do a large number of voices, pretending to call up and say, ‘I’m absolutely shocked and disgusted with what’s on BBC television right now.’

Humphries was superfluous when clean-up campaigner Mary Whitehouse got going.

  • With the Church of England involved in a controversy over whether to allow same-sex marriages, there is an unfortunate oversight in the Church Times. It has a picture of the Bishop of Dudley the Rt Revd Martin Gorick and the Bishop of Worcester the Rt Revd Dr. John Inge under the headline: “Gay Marriage: Bishops of Worcester and Dudley Going Public Soon.”

When MPs really felt the pressure

Sir Gavin Williamson prides himself on being the ultimate hard man as chief whip

Sir Gavin Williamson prides himself on being the ultimate hard man as chief whip

Sir Gavin Williamson prides himself on being the ultimate hard man as chief whip

His time as a minister in three governments is nothing to be proud of, but Sir Gavin Williamson prides himself on being the ultimate hard man as chief whip.

However, compared to previous incumbents, he was a pussycat. When Labor’s Jack Straw was a new MP, Deputy Chief Whip Walter Harrison approached the future Home Secretary, grabbed him by the testicles and squeezed him tightly. ‘What have I done?’ Straw guild. “Well,” Harrison said menacingly, “but think what I’d do if you bothered me.”

  • Star impersonator Jon Culshaw has honed the art of being Rishi Sunak for Radio 4’s Dead Ringers – and he’s done it by listening to Tony Blair recordings. Sunak is widely regarded as having emulated the former Prime Minister’s style for many years. “I got the hang of Sunak after taking Blair’s precision and staccato, softening it and smoothing it out a bit,” reveals Culshaw.
  • Before leaving for the jungle, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to donate the profits from his forthcoming Pandemic Diaries to NHS charities. Let’s hope his inside account of the fight against Covid-19 does more business than his 2011 book, Masters Of Nothing, about the bank crash. Hancock’s share of the royalties was £409. PS Finally someone who has something nice to say about Hancock. Georgia Toffolo, who won the I’m A Celebrity crown in 2017, is quite warming to him. She tweeted: “He should have resigned [as an MP] then you went to the show – you can’t do both. HOWEVER . . . he comes across SO GOOD! Brilliant tele and he’s likeable too.’