BRITISH Asian SAJID Javid was named this morning (30) as Britain’s new home secretary after Amber Rudd resigned from that post, having “inadvertently misled” parliament about deportation targets for illegal immigrants.
Prime minister Theresa May’s Downing Street office announced the appointment in a statement. Javid was previously Britain’s communities minister.
May’s spokesman said Javid had “shown drive, ambition and determination to get to grips with difficult subjects”.
May appointed of Javid is seen as a way to try to draw a line under an immigration scandal that has threatened the prime minister’s authority.
Javid said on Monday his most urgent task was to ensure that the so-called Windrush migrants are treated fairly after a scandal that forced predecessor Rudd to resign.
The government has faced criticism over its treatment of some long-term Caribbean residents who were wrongly labelled illegal immigrants.
“The most urgent task I have is to help those British citizens, that came from the Caribbean, the so-called Windrush generation, and make sure that they are all treated with the decency and the fairness that they deserve,” Javid told broadcasters.
The son of immigrants from Pakistan, Javid at the weekend tried to defuse anger among ethnic minorities over immigration targets by saying his own family could have been caught up in it and that the government was working hard to “put things right”.
The first lawmaker from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community in Britain to hold the office, Javid may also change the balance of May’s top team in negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Javid, a lukewarm campaigner to stay in the bloc, replaces Amber Rudd, one of the cabinet’s most outspoken pro-European members. He has said that the referendum result in 2016 meant that “in some ways, we’re all Brexiteers now”.
Many in May’s Conservative Party, welcomed the appointment, with Liz Truss, a treasury minister, writing on Twitter that Javid “is effective, no-nonsense and brave”.
Others were less complimentary, with one senior Conservative source saying on condition of anonymity that his words to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper describing his response to the scandal as an obvious bid for the job.
“Careful what you wish for,” the source said.
Javid’s appointment happened just hours after Rudd was forced to resign after she admitted in a letter to May that she had “inadvertently misled” a parliamentary committee last Wednesday by denying the government had targets for the deportation of illegal migrants.
May accepted her resignation, a blow to the prime minister as Rudd was one of her closest allies. It was also a blow to those lawmakers in the governing Conservative Party who want to retain the closest possible ties with the EU after Brexit.
But Rudd now might join forces with other pro-EU Conservative lawmakers, further reducing May’s strength in parliament, where she lost her party’s majority at an ill-judged election last year.
Sajid Javid Factbox:
* Javid campaigned to remain in the European Union during the 2016 referendum, even though a few months before the vote he said his “heart” was for Brexit. After the result, he said: “We’re all Brexiteers now.”
* He was the first member of Britain’s South Asian minority to be given a full-time post in the cabinet when he was appointed culture minister in 2014. His father moved to Britain from Pakistan and worked as a bus driver in Bristol.
* Before starting his career in politics, Javid worked for Chase Manhattan Bank and for Deutsche Bank, helping to build its business in emerging markets.
* Javid cites the late Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher as his political inspiration, and has often hung a portrait of her in his ministerial office.
* In 2016, Javid supported the former work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb as a candidate to replace then-prime minister David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party in return for a promise to be appointed finance minister. Crabb’s bid ultimately foundered when he failed to secure enough votes.