This is the moment new chancellor Rishi Sunak awkwardly sits through Sajid Javid’s plea that he is allowed to do his job without “fearing” Dominic Cummings.
Javid dramatically resigned as chancellor earlier this month after Boris Johnson demanded he sack his special advisers, something understood to have been driven by his powerful aide Cummings amid a power struggle between Numbers 10 and 11.
Sunak, a favourite of the Johnson camp, was duly promoted from his role as Treasury secretary to replace Javid as chancellor. However, he is seen by many as a “stooge” of Johnson and Cummings as the pair assert control of central government.
Javid, who had been invited to give a Commons speech about his resignation, laid into Cummings on Wednesday: “A chancellor, like all cabinet ministers, has to be able to give candid advice 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.”
Stood three rows behind Johnson and Sunak, Javid then said: “I very much hope that the new chancellor will be given space to do his job without fear or favour.”
A sullen Sunak looked at the floor before a number of MPs, including Johnson, burst into laughter.
Javid added Sunak “is more than capable of rising to the challenge” as chancellor. He is set to deliver his first Budget next week.
The former chancellor later warned Johnson: “The Treasury must also be allowed to play its role as a finance ministry with the strength and credibility that it requires.”
However, Javid also offered his support, saying: “I want to leave the house in no doubt that he has my full confidence, and the government my full support, to get it [the government’s domestic legislative agenda] done.”
Johnson had earlier been criticised by Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions over his failure to visit flood-hit communities last week. The Labour leader labelled him a “part-time prime minister”.