Hugh Abbot MP is a Member of Parliament who previously served as the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Citizenship. He is a member of the Labour Party.
He was a backbench MP before being appointed to DoSAC.
Early on in his leadership of the department, he is led to believe by the Prime Minister that one of his proposed programmes (a taskforce to monitor and prevent benefit fraud dubbed "Snooper Force") has been given the green light, despite earlier concerns about cost. He then goes to announce the policy at a press conference alongside his chief adviser Glenn Cullen, when he receives a call from Malcolm Tucker. Tucker informs him that the treasury is concerned that he didnt clear the idea with them, and assures him the Prime Minister did not actually intend for the policy to go ahead (stating that "should" is not synonymous with "yes"). Because of this, Hugh and Glenn are left with only forty minutes to come up with a new policy idea to announce to the gathered press.
They are joined by Ollie Reeder, who calls Angela Heaney to backpeddle his previous assertion that the programme was green lit. When he tells her the line they are feeding the press is that the story was leaked early by a "disgruntled civil servant", Hugh indicates they should place the blame of Terri Coverley. He, Ollie and Glenn then come up with an idea for a new announcement: that there is no announcement, just that the department is doing a good job, under budget, but that the press wont report on something like that without them resorting to hosting a large conference.
Hugh gives the impromptu speech offscreen, and then storms out of the school remarking that it was a "fucking disaster". However, when they return to the Department of Social Affairs, it is revealed that the conference was so dull that none of the press have chosen to report on it, what they wanted in the first place. He is then approached by Malcolm Tucker, who informs him that when the Prime Minister was approached by the press in Stockholm regarding the incident, he reiterated his support for the programme, so Hugh must now go back to supporting the "Snooper Force". Whilst he and his staff begin calling the press to his announcement he was supposed to make, he ends up doing a live telephone interview on The World Tonight. In the interview he claims he did make the announcement at the conference, but most of the journalists missed it as they were listening for something more scandalous. At the end of the episode, he requests to Glenn Cullen that he gets a new driver.
Hugh turns up to the office, where Glenn Cullen remarks that he looks like shit, a comment he agrees with. Terri Coverley and Malcolm Tucker then present him with a article from The Times covering him, where writer Simon Hewitt describes him as the "political equivalent to the house wine at a suburban Indian restaurant" and "disconnected to the point of autism". Despite assurances from Tucker that he will deal with the journalist, Hugh wants to introduce a new department level policy in response to the criticisms.
The group meets with Malcolm Tucker, who plans to tell the rest of the media that the criticisms in the Times article are unfounded, and Hewitt only wrote it as a favour to Cliff Lawton, Abbots predecessor. Malcolm also plans to have Angela Heaney write a new article on Hugh showing him to be switched on to modern issues, but is appalled when he shows no recognition of everyday popular culture (such as what a "chav" is, and references to the TV show Little Britain). Malcolm plans to have Hugh watch the "Zeitgeist Tapes", compilations of the weeks television he shows the Prime Minister so he can then appear clued up to the general public.
He is portrayed by Chris Langham.
- "Episode 1.1"—The Thick of It, Series One (First appearance)
- "Episode 1.2"—The Thick of It, Series One
- "Episode 1.3"—The Thick of It, Series One
- "Episode 2.1"—The Thick of It, Series Two
- "Episode 2.2"—The Thick of It, Series Two
- "Episode 2.3"—The Thick of It, Series Two
- "Rise of the Nutters"—The Thick of It, The Specials (Mentioned only)
- "Spinners and Losers"—The Thick of It, The Specials (Mentioned only)
- "Episode 3.1"—The Thick of It, Series Three (Mentioned only)