Sajid Javid: PM’s adviser shakeup ‘not in the national interest’

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Boris Johnson’s move to assume greater control over the Treasury is not in the national interest, former Chancellor Sajid Javid has warned.

The Bromsgrove MP resigned from Cabinet earlier this month after he could remain in his role on the condition he sacked all his special advisers during the Prime Minister’s reshuffle.

Mr Javid made a statement in the Commons today to explain why he felt forced to quit Treasury’s top job.

He told MPs: “A Chancellor, like all Cabinet ministers, has to be able to give candid advice to a Prime Minister so he is speaking truth to power.

“I believe that the arrangement proposed would significantly inhibit that and it would not have been in the national interest.

“So while I was grateful for the continued trust of the Prime Minister in wanting to reappoint me, I am afraid that these were conditions that I could not accept in good conscience.”

His resignation came amid rumours of repeated clashes between himself and Mr Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.

Mr Javid got a laugh from the benches when he referenced the reported rows, saying: “I don’t intend to dwell further on all the details and personalities, the comings and goings, if you will.”

He went on to praise his successor Rishi Sunak as being “more than capable of rising to the challenge” of the role but said he hoped the new Chancellor would “be given the space to do his job without fear or favour”.

Mr Javid said the Prime Minister had his “full confidence and full support”.

However, Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted that the statement was a “damning attack” on the influence of Mr Cummings on Mr Johnson’s administration.

He added that Mr Javid had launched an “unashamed leadership bid to lead a group of Thatcherite back benchers”, saying he predicted “rough waters ahead for Sunak and Johnson”.

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