Hunt booed by Paralympic crowds

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt waits to present the medals for the women's individual H 1-3 road race and was subsequently booed

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt waits to present the medals for the women's individual H 1-3 road race and was subsequently booed

First published in National News © by

Jeremy Hunt has become the latest politician to incur the wrath of the Paralympic crowds when hundreds booed the new Health Secretary.

Mr Hunt, who was promoted from his role as Culture, Media and Sport Secretary in this week's Cabinet reshuffle, was roundly jeered as he presented Britain's Rachel Morris with a bronze in the women's cycling road race.

Morris and fellow Brit Karen Darke had earlier tried to cross the finishing line by holding hands, ensuring they each received a bronze medal at Brands Hatch. But officials refused to oblige and it was Morris alone who collected the bronze from Mr Hunt - who was booed by the crowd.

One onlooker said: "Hunt arrived to present the bronze medal to the British athlete and the crowd started booing him. The medal ceremony itself was on the track, and there were a lot of people there to watch it. But Hunt just seemed to get on with it."

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Theresa May and Chancellor George Osborne were given a rough ride at the games. The crowds jeered when it was announced that Mrs May would present the medals for the men's T20 1500m, won by Peyman Bazanjan of Iran.

Mr Osborne was also given a hostile reception at the men's T38 400m medal ceremony. He initially laughed as the jeering at the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium erupted but seemed to become embarrassed as it continued.

It appeared spectators at the London 2012 Games were determined to deliver their verdict on the coalition Government, with the Prime Minister also meeting a less-than-enthusiastic reception.

While David Cameron presented Ellie Simmonds with her gold medal for the SM6 200m individual medley, some members of the crowd booed the PM but they were drowned out by cheers for the Paralympic poster girl.

It prompted Lord Coe to defend the move to invite politicians to present medals, saying they should expect to become "pantomime villains".

He said: "There are 500 medal ceremonies, we require over 1,000 people, not just politicians, and from time to time, I know from my own personal experience, you do become the pantomime villain in politics. Politicians are bold enough and brave enough to know that sometimes that is the landscape that they are in."

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