David Hunt, Baron Hunt of Wirral

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The Lord Hunt of Wirral
Official portrait, 2023
Secretary of State for Wales
26 June 1995 – 5 July 1995
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byJohn Redwood
Succeeded byWilliam Hague
In office
4 May 1990 – 27 May 1993
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byPeter Walker
Succeeded byJohn Redwood
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
20 July 1994 – 26 June 1995
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byWilliam Waldegrave
Succeeded byRoger Freeman
Secretary of State for Employment
In office
27 May 1993 – 20 July 1994
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byGillian Shephard
Succeeded byMichael Portillo
Treasurer of the Household
In office
15 June 1987 – 25 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byJohn Cope
Succeeded byTristan Garel-Jones
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
20 October 1997
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Wirral West
Wirral (1976–83)
In office
12 March 1976 – 8 April 1997
Preceded bySelwyn Lloyd
Succeeded byStephen Hesford
Personal details
Born (1942-05-21) 21 May 1942 (age 81)
Glyn Ceiriog, Wales
Political partyConservative

David James Fletcher Hunt, Baron Hunt of Wirral, MBE, PC (born 21 May 1942) is a British Conservative politician who served as a member of the Cabinet during the Thatcher and Major ministries, and was appointed to the Privy Council in 1990.


Hunt was educated at Liverpool College, an independent school for boys (now co-educational), in Liverpool, at the time in Lancashire (and now in Merseyside), followed by the University of Bristol, where he studied Law. In 1965, representing the university, he won The Observer Mace debating competition, speaking with Bob Marshall-Andrews (who would also go on to become an MP, for Labour[1]). In 1995, the competition was renamed the John Smith Memorial Mace, and is now run by the English-Speaking Union.

Early life[edit]

Born in Glyn Ceiriog in 1942, the son of former Royal Naval Reserves Officer Alan N. Hunt OBE and Jessie E. E. Northrop, David Hunt was the middle child of three, with two sisters. Growing up, David was an active member of the Young Conservatives where he was inspired into running for political office for the Conservative Party.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Hunt unsuccessfully contested Bristol South in 1970. In the 1973 Birthday Honours, he was appointed to the Order of the British Empire as a Member (MBE) for 'political services in the West of England'.[2] He then unsuccessfully contested Kingswood in 1974. Hunt became the Member of Parliament for Wirral after winning a by-election in 1976. The seat was broken up and Hunt became Member of Parliament for the new Wirral West constituency in 1983.

In Government[edit]

In Government he served as a whip and junior minister under Margaret Thatcher, who made him Secretary of State for Wales in 1990, shortly before her resignation later that year. In the 1990 Conservative Leadership election he is widely believed to have been the only member of the Cabinet to vote for Michael Heseltine on the first ballot. He remained at the Welsh Office until 1993, then served as Secretary of State for Employment from 1993 to 1994 and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1994 to 1995. In the Cabinet reshuffle of 1995, John Major offered Hunt the position of Health Secretary. He declined the offer and Major gave that position to Stephen Dorrell. He briefly returned to the Welsh Office, whilst remaining Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, for two weeks during the leadership election in mid-1995 as acting Secretary of State for Wales after the incumbent, John Redwood, stepped down to be a candidate.

He lost his seat in the Labour landslide at the 1997 general election.


In the 1997 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Hunt of Wirral of Wirral in the county of Merseyside.[3] Lord Hunt was senior partner at the national law firm Beachcroft Wansbroughs (now DAC Beachcroft) between 1996 and 2005. He is now chairman of the firm's financial services division and is regarded as a major figure in the world of insurance and financial services. On certain Bills he used to occasionally step back up to the opposition front bench in the House of Lords, on an ad hoc basis. On 7 October 2008, Conservative leader David Cameron formally appointed him to the front bench to shadow Peter Mandelson in the House of Lords on Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform matters.

Hunt was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Bristol on 21 February 2008. He is vice-president of the Holocaust Educational Trust.[4] He became chairman of the Press Complaints Commission on 17 October 2011.[5] In December 2011 he recommended closing the PCC and replacing it with an alternative independent press regulator.[6]


Coat of arms of David Hunt, Baron Hunt of Wirral
Statant upon a portcullis chained Or an oyster catcher wings elevated and addorsed Proper holding in its beak by the strings Gules a bugle horn or garnished Gules.
Azure a stag's head caboshed Argent on a chief Or a rose Gules barbed and seeded Proper between two ostrich feathers Sable.
Dexter a lion Azure resting the dexter forepaw on an anchor Or, sinister a dragon Azure resting the sinister foreclaws on a pickaxe head downwards Or.
Pro Deo Et Civitate (For God And State) [7]


  1. ^ "Robert Marshall-Andrews, former MP, Medway".
  2. ^ "No. 45984". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 May 1973. p. 6487.
  3. ^ "No. 54850". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 August 1997. p. 1. "No. 54928". The London Gazette. 23 October 1997. p. 1.
  4. ^ "About the Holocaust Educational Trust". n.d. Archived from the original on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
  5. ^ Dan Sabbagh (13 October 2011). "Lord Hunt of Wirral named chairman of Press Complaints Commission (PCC)". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  6. ^ David Hencke (14 December 2011). "Hunt plans to replace PCC with new Press regulator". Exaro news. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ Burke's Peerage. 2003.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wirral
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wirral West
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Wales
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Employment
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Wales
Succeeded by
Media offices
Preceded by Chair of the Press Complaints Commission
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Hunt of Wirral
Followed by
The Lord Razzall