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”.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?