Boris Johnson’s move to assume greater control over the Treasury is not in the national interest, Sajid Javid warned.
The former chancellor used a personal statement in the Commons to spell out why he felt forced to quit the Cabinet after being given an ultimatum to sack all his special advisers in favour of a joint Number 10-Number 11 team.
Ahead of next month’s Budget, Javid urged his successor Rishi Sunak not to abandon the fiscal rules aimed at keeping control of the public finances.
Sunak took over in Number 11 Downing Street after agreeing to the conditions imposed by the prime minister earlier this month.
But Javid said: “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.
“So while I was grateful for the continued trust of the prime minister in wanting to reappoint me, I am afraid that these were conditions that I could not accept in good conscience.”
Javid’s resignation came after repeated clashes with the prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.
In an apparent reference to the rows with Cummings, he said: “I don’t intend to dwell further on all the details and the personalities… the comings and goings if you will.”
He said much of the commentary on their relationship was “just gossip and distraction”.
With Sunak being urged to turn on the spending taps in order to fund crowd-pleasing measures promised during the general election campaign, Javid called for restraint.
“We need a resolute focus on long-term outcomes and delivery, not short-term headlines.
“The Treasury as an institution, as an economic ministry, should be the engine that drives this new agenda,” he said.
“But the Treasury must also be allowed to play its role as a finance ministry with the strength and credibility that it requires.”
Javid said the fiscal rules contained in the Tory manifesto were “critical”.
Following Javid’s statement, Johnson thanked Javid for his speech and “immense service” to the country, saying he had “friends and admirers on all sides of this House of Commons”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted that Mr Javid had launched a “damning attack” on Cummings’ “dominance” of the Johnson administration.
But he also claimed it was an “unashamed leadership bid” and added there would be “rough waters ahead for Sunak and Johnson”.
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