David Cameron urges Boris Johnson to bring ex-health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt back into the Cabinet saying he should not fear having experienced ‘big beasts’ around him to help with coronavirus battle
- Mr Cameron said that Mr Hunt ‘talks a lot of sense’ as health committee chairman
- PM has been accused of having a weak Cabinet filled with Brexiteer loyalists
- Hunt lost out to him in last year’s leadership election and left the Cabinet
Former prime minister David Cameron today urged Boris Johnson not to be afraid to surround himself with experienced politicians – urging him to bring former leadership rival Jeremy Hunt back into the Cabinet.
Mr Cameron said that Mr Hunt, the former health and foreign secretary, ‘talks a lot of sense’ in his current role as health committee chairman, adding: I hope his talent isn’t lost to politics forever if I can put it that way’.
Mr Johnson has been accused of having a weak Cabinet filled with Brexiteer loyalists chosen for their unlikeliness to rebel or challenge the Prime Minister.
But in an interview with Times Radio, Mr Cameron said Mr Hunt had been a ‘brilliant Health secretary who still had a lot to add.
‘My approach was – I didn’t fear the tall poppies. Ken Clark and I didn’t always agree, and often Ken would begin his explanation with why you’re wrong by saying ”well as Ted (Heath) used to say” and then ”as Margaret (Thatcher) used to say”.
‘And by the time you got to me you felt, OK, this guy’s got a lot of experience. But I liked having the big beasts, the Clarks, the (George) Osbornes, (William) Hagues, George Young, Iain Duncan Smith and the rest of it around the table.’
Mr Johnson has been accused of having a weak Cabinet filled with Brexiteer loyalists chosen for their unlikeliness to rebel or challenge the Prime Minister
Mr Hunt became health committee chairman ater losing to Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership election in July last year and being axed as foreign secretary
Mr Hunt, took up his committee chairmanship after losing to Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership election in July last year and being axed as foreign secretary. He was previously the longest-serving health secretary.
He has been outspoken during the coronavirus pandemic, lambasting ministers for slowness in organising mass testing, tests for NHS staff, the explosion in cases in care homes and the release of scientific data.
It came as Mr Boris Johnson today pleaded for Britons to ‘save Christmas’ by obeying his ‘Rule of Six’ – warning that lockdown will only get stricter if the country does not ‘flatten the hump of the camel’.
The PM begged the public to keep faith with his draconian rules despite the testing system descending into a shambles, with fears schools and offices will have to shut because people with mild symptoms cannot prove they are negative.
Amid bitter clashes between experts over the best way to respond to the spike in Covid cases, the North East is the latest area facing new curbs, including forcing pubs to shut at 10pm and a ban on households socialising with anyone else.
In London, public health chiefs have warned of looming curfews, while ministers have hinted that the edict for everyone to work from home could be reinstated soon if infections do not come back under control.
The new rules for the North East are expected to come into force just after midnight after a dramatic rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the area.
In an interview with The Sun justifying his agenda, Mr Johnson emphasised that social restrictions, localised lockdowns, and a ‘ramped up’ testing were being used in a bid to prevent a second wave.
He warned: ‘The only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now.’