SAJID JAVID minced no words in saying that the power play that saw him resign as chancellor was “not in the national interest”.
Delivering a short but sharp resignation speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday (26), Javid started off saying he had hoped he would have had “a little longer to make a difference from the inside”.
“When I left these benches it was to become a minister in the Treasury,” he said.
“It seems apt that I have gone back to whence I came – the circle of life.”
Javid said he chose to quit because he “could not accept in good conscience” the conditions that were thrust upon him, referring to the idea of sacking his advisers and working with a centralised No 10-No 11 team.
“Advisers advise, ministers decide—and ministers decide on their advisers,” he said, with an incisive pause.
“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 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.”
In a nimble-witted reference to the prime minister’s top adviser Dominic Cummings, Javid said: “Now I don’t intend to dwell further on all the details and the personalities… the comings and goings if you will.”
Closing the resignation chapter at that, Javid said he hoped “the new chancellor will be given the space to do his job without fear or favour”.
“And I know that my RHF for Richmond [Rishi Sunak] is more than capable of rising to the challenge,” he said.
Javid said the prime minister had won a huge mandate to transform the country, and the government should be resolutely focused on “long-term outcomes and delivery, not short-term headlines”
He added that Johnson was “off to a great start: ending the parliamentary paralysis, defeating the radical Left, getting Brexit done, a points-based immigration system and an infrastructure revolution”.
He, however, asserted that the Treasury should be allowed to “play its role as a finance ministry with the strength and credibility that it requires”.
Describing himself as a “proud low-tax Conservative”, Javid pointed out that the country’s tax burden was the “highest it’s been in 50 years”.
“The Treasury has a job to do,” he said. “It is the only tax-cutting ministry.”
Javid said there was a need to “level up across the generations”, but cautioned against passing “the bill for our day-to-day consumption to our children and grandchildren”.
“So that’s why the fiscal rules that we were elected on are critical,” he said.
“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 in stone in our manifesto—of debt being lower at the end of the parliament.”
It was no secret that No 10 had a major problem with Javid’s stringent fiscal rules, and tight leash on spending.
“While I am, of course, disappointed not to be finishing what I started, I look to the future not with apprehension, but with great optimism,” he said.
Javid wrapped up on a positive note, saying he believed Johnson had the “tenacity, the energy and the skill to see it through” and “he has my full confidence”.