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Tue, 31 March 2020

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By Dods General Election Hub 2019

Sajid Javid accuses Boris Johnson of failing to act 'in the national interest' in bitter parting shot

Sajid Javid accuses Boris Johnson of failing to act 'in the national interest' in bitter parting shot
3 min read

Sajid Javid has accused Boris Johnson of failing to act "in the national interest" as he revealed the circumstances surrounding his resignation from the Cabinet.

The former Chancellor also took a swipe at Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's most senior adviser, in a dramatic Commons statement.

Mr Javid quit his post earlier this month after being told by Mr Johnson that he would need to sack all of his special advisers to keep his job.

Under a plan hatched by Mr Cummings, they would be replaced by a new unit of advisers inside Downing Street reporting to both the PM and Chancellor.

Attacking the new set-up, Mr Javid said the relationship between 10 and 11 Downing Street "depends on the mutual respect and trust that allows for constructive, creative tension between teams". 

Aiming a direct jibe at Mr Cummings, he went on: "It is that creative, that dynamic, that has always been the case, that advisers advise, ministers decide and ministers decide on their advisers.

"I couldn't see why the Treasury, with the vital role that it plays, should be the exception to that. 

"A Chancellor, like all Cabinet ministers, has to be able to give candid advice to a Prime Minister so that he is speaking truth to power. I believe the arrangements proposed would significantly inhibit that, and it would not have been in the national interest."

The Bromsgrove MP, who ran to be Tory leader last year, said he did not “intend to dwell further on all the details and the personalities”.

But in another dig at the PM’s most senior advisor, he added: “The Cummings and goings, if you will.”

Mr Javid also appeared to take another swipe at the PM and Mr Cummings when he called on the Government to stick to the fiscal rule contained in the Tory election manifesto, which aimed to keep public spending under control.

He said: "I'm a proud low-tax Conservative and I always will be. Already, our tax burden is the highest it's been in 50 years. 

"It's fair to say that not everyone in the centre of government feels the pressure to balance the books."

As Mr Johnson and his successor as Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, listened from the front bench, Mr Javid added: "It would not be right to pass the bill for our day-to-day consumption to our children and grandchildren.

"That's why the fiscal rules that we were elected on are critical. To govern is to choose, and these rules crystallise the choices that are required: to keep spending under control, to keep taxes low, to root out waste and to pass the litmus test - rightly set out in our manifesto - of debt being lower at the end of the Parliament."

In response Mr Johnson thanked Mr Javid for the “grace” with which he spoke, and for his “immense service to several departments”, adding he has “friends and admirers across all sides of this House.”

Labour’s shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “Sajid Javid’s statement is not only a damning attack on Dominic Cummings’ dominance of the Johnson administration but also an unashamed leadership bid to the group of Thatcherite backbenchers committed to resisting tax rises for the wealthiest and big business.

“Choppy waters are ahead for Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson.”


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