Published: 17/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5851 Page 6 7

Former junior health minister Lord Hunt has said he has 'no expectation' of being offered a return to the front benches, despite rumours that prime minister Tony Blair might offer Lord Hunt and former home office minister John Denham their jobs back at the end of the war in Iraq.

The former minister said he was hoping to take an advisory role on a think tank and planning a very active role in the Lords. He also said he would like to chair an NHS organisation.

He told HSJ: 'I have no expectations. I had five years.'

A Department of Health insider said it was proving difficult to find a find a suitable replacement for Lord Hunt's portfolio in the Lords, given his breadth of experience before he took his peerage.

And speaking to HSJ days before the resignation of Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection chief inspector Dr Peter Homa, Lord Hunt also said CHAI 'will be tougher' than the Commission for Health Improvement.

'It is very, very important that as they move on and develop from clinical governance to more general reviews, they redouble their efforts.'