Sajid Javid has resigned as chancellor of the Exchequer for the U.K. | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images
Sajid Javid quits as Boris Johnson reshuffles top team
Prime minister asserts his power in government shake-up.
Updated 2/13/20, 5:38 PM CET
LONDON — Sajid Javid surprised Westminster Thursday when he quit as U.K. chancellor during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s big reshuffle.
Javid repeatedly clashed with top Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings, and resigned over a demand that he sack his closest advisers and replace them with No. 10 aides to make one team, according to a Treasury official.
“The chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms,” the official said.
He was replaced in the job by former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak, who will work more closely with No. 10 in a new political unit.
The merger suggests Johnson wants to concentrate power at the top of government, and will likely be seen as a power grab by Cummings, who has a reputation for wanting to keep ministers and their teams in check.
Sunak’s appointment has rattled those who favor the economic orthodoxy of small fiscal deficits and limited government spending. Financial markets analysts say Sunak is expected to be a deficit dove, meaning he will happily increase spending and borrowing while cutting taxes, something the Thatcherite Sajid Javid was reluctant to do out of a desire to maintain a balanced budget.
Sunak was a convinced Brexiteer as early as 2015, and had declared his views publicly although at the time they were contrary to those held by the leadership of the Conservative Party.