Sajid Javid resigns as chancellor amid Cabinet reshuffle

The announcement comes just weeks before the 11 March Budget.

Economy and Policy February 13, 2020 by Emma Lunn

Sajid Javid has stepped down as chancellor of the Exchequer as prime minister Boris Johnson reshuffles his Cabinet.

Javid resigned, despite being given the opportunity to stay in his post, because Johnson demanded that he sack his team of aides.

Rishi Sunak will replace Javid as chancellor. Sunak was first elected to Parliament in 2015, and previously served as chief secretary to the Treasury, the second in command to the finance minister, overseeing public spending.

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A spokesman for Javid told the Press Association: “Javid has turned down the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer. 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.”

The announcement was met with shock as Javid was due to deliver his first Budget on 11 March. He was appointed chancellor on 24 July 2019 after Johnson became prime minister. Prior to that, Javid was home secretary from 30 April 2018 to 24 July 2019.

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, says: “One of the key pillars of the Conservative’s election success was the perception that they could be trusted with the economy, and the country was hoping for a period of stability within Westminster. This was supposed to be a low-key reshuffle but instead we have yet another key ministerial change. It is really not a good look for the chancellor to quit less than a month before their first Budget, and it leaves a host of issues hanging in the balance.

“Rishi Sunak in his new role will need to work extraordinarily quickly to get a grip on the upcoming Budget and present it to Parliament next month. It is yet to be seen whether Sunak will serve as No 10’s puppet, given the speculation that the prime minister’s office is seeking to take closer control of the Treasury.”

Other ministers out of a job owing to the reshuffle include Norther Ireland secretary Julian Smith, business secretary Andrea Leadsom, attorney general Geoffrey Cox, housing minister Esther McVey, and environment secretary Theresa Villiers.

McVey's departure means that the UK will see its 10th housing minister since 2010.

This article was first written by our sister magazine Moneywise.

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