THE resignation of Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid raised the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle from the mundane to the sublime today; certainly, it proved rather more surprising than the loss of yet another housing minister.
The former Chancellor was due to present the Budget in just four weeks’ time. Quite what it means for the direction of travel Boris Johnson’s Government is likely to take remains to be seen.
As Javid returns to the backbenches, that task now falls to his successor, the Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, who had previously served as chief secretary to the Treasury since July 2019. He’s only been a Member of Parliament since 2015, so a very fresh face in what is the second highest office of state.
According to media reports, Javid’s resignation is an unexpected by-product of inner circle machinations within Number 10; namely, Johnson’s and his chief advisor Dominic Cummings’ desire to establish a tighter grip on government
Javid was to remain in post as Chancellor. However, he was reportedly told he’d have to sack his own team of special advisors at the Treasury, and accept a team imposed from Number 10. He refused and resigned.
No surprise that Esther McVey MP was sacked. Whatever the behind the scenes reasons for her dismissal, she was of course the housing minister, so it might be said she was doomed from day one.
Housing ministers, after all, seem to have only a little more likely life expectancy than a red shirt in an episode of classic Star Trek.
As of the time of writing, we’re still waiting to hear who might replace McVey in the role; for what it is worth. With her departure we’re looking at 10 housing ministers in 10 years, so in some respects today’s reshuffle has changed nothing for housing – it remains firmly a side issue in the affairs of state.
Main Image: Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, January 2020. Photo by Jessica Taylor. ©UK Parliament.