Jeremy Hunt told James Dyson that he 'should try being an MP himself' during 'awful' meeting

20 March 2024, 12:19

Jeremy Hunt is said to have had an 'awful' meeting with Sir James Dyson
Jeremy Hunt is said to have had an 'awful' meeting with Sir James Dyson. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Jeremy Hunt is said to have told Sir James Dyson that he should try running to become an MP himself if he wants to have a bigger say in government policy.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Vacuum tycoon Sir James has been critical of the government's economic approach in recent months.

The billionaire entrepreneur has also praised Mr Hunt's predecessor as Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, whose mini-budget precipitated the end of his tenure and Liz Truss' premiership.

The exchange between Mr Hunt and Sir James came during a meeting at the Treasury last week to discuss tax relief for research and development, as first reported by the Financial Times.

A civil service source told the Telegraph that "no voices were raised but Jeremy just pointed out that as someone who used to run his own business, he knows that changing things in the public sector is more complex than the private sector and so maybe Sir James should give it a try and find out for himself."

Read more: Inflation eases to 3.4% in February, the lowest level in two years, down from 4% last month

Read more: UK economy returns to growth after GDP rose 0.2% in January - raising hopes country is on its way out of recession

James Dyson
James Dyson. Picture: Alamy

The source said that the meeting was "courteous", but the Financial Times reported that it was seen as "awful" by some participants.

Sir James has previously said that the UK is not prioritising economic growth enough, and risks falling behind other countries.

Brexit backer Sir James, who claims to have invested £1.7 billion in the UK over the past five years, said that "wealth generation and growth" have become "dirty words".

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Alamy

"I’ve always believed that inflation isn’t quite the enemy everyone thinks it is," he added.

“If you’ve got growth, a bit of inflation doesn’t matter. If you get inflation down and kill growth, I think you’re in trouble."

It comes as the UK slipped into recession in the final quarter of 2023, although the economy grew slightly again in January. Meanwhile figures released on Thursday show that inflation is at its lowest rate since September 2021.

Sir James told the Telegraph in December: “I’m disappointed we’re not going for growth. I’ve made that plain.

Is James Dyson so 'pre-historic ' in his views that the UK's competitiveness is 'turning to dust'

“I was hopeful [with Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng]. I thought they were doing the right thing – I’m the only one who did.

“Mr Kwarteng wasn’t raising taxes. He was going for growth, which I think is the right thing. It allows us to pay for things and generates wealth.”

Spokespeople for Sir James and the Treasury both declined to comment on claims about the recent meeting.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A soldier is fighting for his life

British soldier fighting for life after being 'stabbed in frenzied attack outside barracks' - as man, 24, arrested

The 'crazy' welfare system needs reform, former Labour health secretary warns the Government

‘Crazy’ welfare system needs reform, Labour adviser warns Government, as he says ‘force long-term sick into work’

14 passengers made it onto a life raft

At least six dead and seven missing after fishing boat sinks 200 miles off Falkland Islands

Charlotte Dujardin, Britain's joint-most decorated female Olympian, has pulled out of Paris 2024

Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin ‘whipped horse 24 times like an elephant in the circus’, claims lawyer

Roberta Taylor was diagnosed with pneumonia after a fall two months ago

EastEnders and The Bill star Roberta Taylor dies aged 76 from infection caused by fall

Kamala Harris raises her arms against a backdrop of US flags

Kamala Harris kicks off campaign for US president with rally in Wisconsin

A line of traffic against a red background

Wildfires send thousands fleeing from Canadian Rockies’ national park

Former Home Secretary James Cleverly has announced he will stand in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

Former Home Secretary James Cleverly announces Tory leadership bid

Kamala Harris

‘A fight for the future’: Kamala Harris vows to take on Donald Trump’s ‘extremist’ agenda in first campaign rally speech

Police help a man out of a police vehicle

Man faces murder charges after mass shooting in Croatia nursing home

Labour has seen off a potential rebellion on the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer suspends seven rebel Labour MPs who voted to get rid of two-child benefit cap

Spain and Manchester City star Rodri has been charged by UEFA after he chanted about Gibraltar during a Euro 2024 victory event.

Manchester City star Rodri charged by UEFA over Gibraltar chants during EURO 2024 celebrations

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware

Joe Biden seen for first time since quitting presidential race as Democrats rally behind Kamala Harris

Robert Hammond, 47, faced a "surging mountain of debt and financial pressures"

Mortgage broker who murdered his wife to cash in on her life insurance and pay off £300,000 debt jailed for 24 years

Michael Marmot said the cap was 'almost a form of eugenics'

Two-child benefit cap amounts to eugenics, public health expert claims ahead of MPs' vote

nna Holland and Phoebe Plummer are accused of throwing two cans of soup at the legendary painting

Tomato soup acted 'like paint stripper' in Just Stop Oil Van Gogh protest, court hears