Jeremy Hunt is a rich man. He made all of his money from the sale of a business he co-founded, called Hotcourses.

This, he claims, makes him a successful entrepeneur.

Hotcourses as a start-up owed its entire success to Hunt and his business partner’s ability to persuade the British Council to use its services, subsequently under a pseudonym Sheffield Data Services.

This persuasion, however, was made somewhat easier no doubt by the fact that Hunt’s cousin – former Tory minister Baroness Virginia Bottomley – was vice-chair of the British Council.

And also made easier by the fact that Hunt’s partner in the initial consortium that won the contract, was supposed to be the massive Yahoo. A fact that later, however, turned out to be totally untrue.

The truth is, Jeremy Hunt is not a successful entrepeneur as he claims.

He’s a nepotistic grifter who made good use of his close family connections to pocket taxpayer money hand over fist.

PS Finding these links between Bottomley, Hunt, British Council, Hotcourses is not easy. There seems to be have been a concerted effort to wipe them from the internet. There is even virtually no mention online for example of Bottomley’s vice-chairship of the British Council. Try Googling it yourself.

But here’s Bottomley in Hansard stating herself she was vice-chair of BC:

And here below, is the BC director at the time, Dr Neil Kemp OBE, in a circular announcing the first contract with Hunt’s Hotcourses, before the name was changed. This circular is also difficult to find.

Interestingly, in this announcement, Kemp mentions partners in Hunt’s consortium such as Yahoo. It subsequently turned out, however, that Yahoo knew nothing of this project and was never involved in it. In other words, the whole process of awarding the contract was a stitch up, with big firms such as Yahoo being used to explain away why Hunt’s firm was given such a lucrative contract.

This in itself, of course, should have been a scandal, but the press as usual ignored the whole sordid business.

Anyway, here’s the circular in full, complete with the lies about Yahoo and the mention of how Hunt’s Hotcourses won the contract:



Sent: 15 January 2002 13:05


Subject: Education UK site & ELT Constituency

This e-mail is posted on behalf of Neil Kemp, Director, Promotions and

Partnerships Division.


I would like to thank those colleagues who constructively highlighted some of the technical problems and links that arose with the pre-launch version of the Education UK web site established on the 8 January 2002.  Our experience of partnership projects such as the Education UK web site is that a pre-launch site is vital to test for technical, quality and relationship issues. This is especially important when managing very complex databases.

We are both disappointed but pleased that issues concerning the presence of English in Britain accredited ELT on the site have surfaced at this stage.

To resolve these issues, we are undertaking the following steps:

    • the facility to search by course type “English language” has been removed and will be replaced only when we are satisfied that it meets our requirements and has been retested
    • the list of “other providers” will be removed from the “institutions” search facility;
    • a new “English in Britain Accredited English Language providers” list will appear in the “institutions “search facility.

Accredited English language providers will therefore be able to go to this list to satisfy themselves that the data they have supplied about courses offered is both complete and accurately reflected on the database.  The database currently includes around half of all accredited providers.

Information regarding the remaining providers is currently being processed and will be added shortly. The English Language search function will be not be enabled until it is complete.

With regard to the developments that are scheduled to take place, relating to English language courses prior to the website’s official launch, the most significant will be the development, in consultation with a small group of English in Britain accredited providers, of a customised search facility for English language courses.  The search module will enable students to refine their search for English language courses according to a range of appropriate parameters.  It is intended that this module, and the presence of accredited ELT providers on the site as a whole, will be signed off by the British Council’s ELT Group, who will consult ARELS and BASELT, before it formally goes “live” on the website.

In order to clarify the scale and nature of the Education UK website project, some background and context may be useful.  The Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI), launched in June 1999, includes as a major objective the encouragement of more international students to undertake UK education and training programmes.  In developing a brand and promotion campaign to extend the credentials of UK education and training, it was recognised that an increasingly key source of information for international students looking for overseas study opportunities was the Internet. The creation of an Education UK website was therefore a very high priority.

After a rigorous selection procedure, the British Council entered into a contractual partnership with a consortium led by Hotcourses to develop the Education UK website and associated databases.  The other consortium members are UCAS, CSU and Yahoo.  The consortium’s bid was selected both because of its impressive technical capabilities and also its ability to provide a database giving comprehensive coverage of UK education and training programmes.  Data on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are drawn from UCAS and CSU respectively.  In addition, Hotcourses collects data on all other post-secondary programmes through its contract with the University for Industry’s (Ufi) LearnDirect website.  Additional data from ELT providers, independent schools and colleges has been sought directly from those institutions.  When complete, the database will include over 600,000 courses.

A range of search facilities (course, level, qualification, location, institution, etc) will be offered, as well as advice and information on various aspects of studying in the UK.  Future developments include services such as on-line applications and on-line counselling.  Our objective is to have a website which is straightforward to use, visually attractive and highly functional, and which will be actively marketed globally.

The site is being funded commercially, with the British Council providing the marketing support through its network of 109 offices worldwide.

Accredited ELT providers will receive a number of direct benefits from the site free of charge, such as comprehensive listings of course details. There will be additional paid-for options available for those who choose, and any packages offered will be worked out after careful consultation.

Clearly the processes involved in such a project are complex and we have been working to an extremely tight timescale. I would like to emphasise that this is a trial version of the site, and that, as you have found, some features of the searches and navigation through the site have yet to be refined.  We believe that when complete the Education UK web site will offer the accredited ELT sector a valuable and effective tool for global promotions and one that will place the UK well ahead of its international competitors.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Neil Kemp

Director, Promotions and Partnerships Division

The British Council

10 Spring Gardens

London SW1A 2BN

tel: (44) 0207 389 4505