Sajid Javid has quit as chancellor of the exchequer
Sources say he walked after Number 10 demanded he sacked an entire team of aides
Rishi Sunak has taken over as chancellor
Sajid Javid has resigned from Boris Johnson’s government in a shock move during a cabinet reshuffle.
He said he was left “with no option other than to resign” after Number 10 ordered him to sack his team of aides.
Rishi Sunak, who was a treasury minister, will take over as chancellor in a significant promotion for the Johnson loyalist.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 13, 2020
Mr Javid said that no “self-respecting minister” could accept the ultimatum from Number 10.
He told reporters outside his home on Thursday afternoon: “The conditions that were attached was a requirement that I replace all my political advisers.
“These are people who have worked incredibly hard on behalf of not just the government but the whole country.
“I was unable to accept those conditions.
“I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions and so therefore I felt the best thing to do was to go.”
Mr Javid has been at loggerheads with the prime minister’s top aide Dominic Cummings for months, and Cummings’ fingerprints are widely viewed to be all over the shock move.
Although Javid was not sacked, he was essentially offered a package he would be unable to accept.
The two clashed heads in August 2019 when Mr Cummings sacked one of Mr Javid’s advisers without telling the chancellor in advance.
The former chancellor had also caused waves in recent weeks after publicly backing HS2 before the government officially backed the project.
Despite the tensions, Mr Javid was expected to hold onto his position, and was due to present the government budget in 28 days’ time.
Speaking on November, the PM said he planned to keep Mr Javid on as chancellor going forward, saying he was doing a “fantastic job”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Javid’s resignation left the government in crisis.
“This must be a historical record with the Government in crisis after just over two months in power,” he said.
“Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge as chancellor.”
The other top positions in government remain unchanged. Priti Patel is staying on as home secretary and Dominic Raab keeps his job as foreign secretary.
Elsewhere in the reshuffle, Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith, attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox, housing minister Esther McVey, environment secretary Theresa Villiers, and business secretary Andrea Leadsom, were the senior figures to lose their jobs.