Jeremy Hunt gives £100,000 of his own money to local Tory party to boost re-election chances

Mr Hunt’s donations are twenty times that of previous gifts made under the leadership of Theresa May and David Cameron

Zoe Grunewald
Monday 04 March 2024 12:51 GMT
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Mr Hunt’s budget on Wednesday is widely anticipated to include tax cuts for working people

Jeremy Hunt has donated more than £100,000 of his own money to his constituency Conservative party as he aims to boost his chances of re-election.

Electoral commission records show the chancellor has given £105,261 to his local constituency party in Surrey over the past five years amid concerns that he will have to fight to retain his seat.

It comes as a new poll by Survation revealed Mr Hunt could become the first chancellor in modern times to lose his seat at a general election, with his constituency of Godalming and Ash set to be taken by the Lib Dems.

His personal donations to the South-west Surrey Conservative association are more than twenty times what he gave under the leadership of Theresa May and David Cameron, when he donated less than £4,500.

The most recent accounts for Mr Hunt’s local association have warned that its “balance sheet is at a less than satisfactory level” as donations to the association fell by almost 50 per cent in 2021.

Mr Hunt is on course to lose his seat in Godalming and Ash (Getty/PA)

A Labour source told The Guardian: “This tells you everything you need to know about the state of the Conservative party, with the chancellor seemingly spending more time dishing out personal cheques to prolong his political career than fixing the economy his government has wrecked.”

Mr Hunt has maintained that he intends to stay as chancellor in the election and beyond.

At present, 58 Conservative MPs have announced their intention to stand down at the next election.

Many in the party are concerned about their prospects at the next election as an Ipsos survey poll published on Monday put the Conservatives 27-points behind Labour. If replicated at a general election, this poll would lead to the loss of 351 seats, leaving Rishi Sunak’s party as the third largest behind Labour and the Lib Dems.

In Mr Hunt’s own constituency, the Lib Dems are likely to take 35 per cent of the vote, with the Tories on 29 per cent and Labour on 22 per cent, the poll forecast says.

The Chancellor is widely anticipated to announce a package of tax cuts on Wednesday (PA Archive)

When local voters were asked about their priorities, 34 per cent of voters said health and the NHS, while 27 per cent said the cost of living.

In comparison, just 4 per cent of voters said tax, a blow for Mr Hunt ahead of his spring, where the chancellor hopes to win back voters with tax cuts.

On tax cuts, nearly 7 in 10 (67 per cent) of people said increasing funding for public services like the NHS would be more important in determining their vote at the next general election.

Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s no wonder that Jeremy Hunt is on the brink of his losing his seat when people across Surrey are furious they can’t get GP appointments, that their hospitals have been left to crumble, and water firms are still allowed to pollute their rivers.

“In the chancellor’s own back yard, food bank demand is surging after his government failed to get a grip on the cost of living crisis. Liberal Democrats are fired up in Surrey to oust Conservative MPs who have taken people for granted.”

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