Westminster has proposed some comical ideas over the years: a people’s assembly, a second Brexit referendum and an all-female emergency Cabinet, to name just a few. None, however, are more absurd than Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson is being urged by loyalists to put the “pound-shop Machiavelli” in charge of the nation’s finances in an effort to shore up his brittle leadership.

The rumour comes a day after Downing Street allies accused his former leadership contender of “duplicity” and selfishness after voting for “change” during Monday’s no-confidence vote.

Since rejecting Johnson’s offer to join his frontbench in 2019, Hunt has steadily been building his profile among peers, raising Number 10’s suspicions.

As chairman of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Hunt has vocally criticised the government for its strategy on coronavirus and boldly claimed that he would have “avoided all lockdowns” – despite voting for the emergency measures every time they were presented to Parliament.

He has also recently written a book – Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS – which failed to reach the most recent Sunday Times bestseller list.

Hunt may be ranked as a bookies’ favourite to succeed Johnson, but the public aren’t keen on him after his time in Cabinet. He has a popularity rating of just 17 per cent and is disliked by 39 per cent of voters, according to YouGov.

After all, this is a politician who recently admitted that his failings as Health Secretary contributed to the current delays in A&E, and whose financial mismanagement of the health service forced the Treasury to hike up National Insurance contributions.

How can Hunt possibly be trusted in delivering Britain from its economic woes?