On the day Boris Johnson shakes up his ministerial team the prime minister suffers a major resignation.
Sajid Javid has resigned as chancellor after refusing to sack his aides in a stunning row with the prime minister.
Former chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak has replaced Mr Javid, telling journalists as he entered the Treasury that he was “delighted to be appointed” and had “a lot to get on with”.
On a day when there were expectations of only a moderate shake-up of Boris Johnson’s government – little more than two months after the Tories’ general election success – Mr Javid sent shockwaves through Westminster by quitting his role.
His departure comes less than four weeks before this year’s budget, meaning Mr Javid will leave the Treasury without ever having delivered the set-piece fiscal announcement.
The former home secretary was appointed chancellor by Mr Johnson when he became prime minister in July.
His resignation follows rumours of tensions between Mr Javid and the prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.
“He has turned down the job of chancellor of the exchequer,” a source close to Mr Javid, who had been expected to remain in place, said.
“The prime minister said he had to fire all his special advisers and replace them with Number 10 special advisers to make it one team. The chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms.”
In other reshuffle moves:
- Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom have been sacked
- Housing Minister Esther McVey and Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers are also out of the government
- Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who attended cabinet, was asked to resign by the PM
- Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary
- Dominic Raab remains as Foreign Secretary
- Michael Gove remains in his role as minister for the Cabinet Office
- International Development Secretary Alok Sharma has been appointed business secretary and minister for the upcoming climate conference COP26, in Glasgow.
Boris Johnson is expected to appoint a new minister to oversee the building of the HS2 rail line, final approval for which was given this week.
Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his first Budget in March
Sunak has less than 5 years’ experience in Parliament, and barely 6 months’ experience in Treasury – and Boris Johnson has made him the actual Chancellor of the Exchequer. With a budget due in a month. What could possibly go wrong…?
There will now be a new joint team of No 10 and 11 special advisers, it is understood.
Mr Sunak, 39, was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University, after which he went on to found an investment firm.
In 2015, he was elected MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire, replacing former Conservative leader William Hague.
Mr Sunak became a housing minister in 2018, before being promoted to chief secretary to the Treasury last July.
He stood in for Mr Johnson during the BBC’s seven-way debate ahead of December’s general election.
Arriving at the Treasury, Mr Sunak said he was “delighted to be appointed” chancellor and had “a lot to get on with”.
Commenting on Mr Javid’s resignation, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “This must be a historical record with the government in crisis after just over two months in power.
“Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge as chancellor.“