Hunt defends Chancellor's record

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has defended George Osborne's record in office after a poll suggested nearly half of Britain's voters believe the Chancellor should be ousted.

Mr Hunt told the Sky News Murnaghan programme that Mr Osborne "has been one of the bravest chancellors in history", putting through a package of spending cuts.

Research commissioned by the Sunday Mirror and the Independent on Sunday found 44% of adults wanted him to be replaced, while just 20% believed he should remain in the job.

Asked if those within the party were losing confidence in Mr Osborne's ability to fulfil his key economic role alongside that of party strategy, Mr Hunt replied: "Absolutely not, you don't become chancellor because you want to be Mr Popular, look at Geoffrey Howe with his 1981 Budget or look at Nigel Lawson with his Budget."

He added: "The job of the Chancellor is to take really tough and difficult decisions that have their payback many years hence when you've taken the decisions in the interests of the economy.

"And George Osborne has been one of the bravest chancellors in history, putting through a package of spending cuts, about a 19% cut in public spending across the course of this Parliament, never been done in peace time before and as a result of that he's kept Britain out of the firestorm that has engulfed the eurozone and many other countries and that's what he will be remembered for."

Mr Hunt said the London 2012 Olympics would provide a boost to Britain's confidence and remind the world of the UK's rich history and culture.

He said: "I think what we're going to see over the next seven weeks is us showing the world what we're really capable of.

"Not just the fact that we are capable of putting on the world's biggest sport event in the calm, professional, disciplined way that I know we will, but also playing to our great cultural strengths, the fact that London has three of the world's top five museums, the way the opening ceremony will tell a billion people across the world that we are the home of literature, the home of music, the country that was the home of the industrial revolution that's really shaped the modern world.

"And I think that will be a terrific boost for our national confidence just at a time when we really need it."