Sajid Javid quit as the United Kingdom‘s chancellor of the exchequer after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set conditions “any self-respecting minister” would reject, he said, as several senior heads rolled in a dramatic Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.
The prime minister ordered Javid to fire his closest aides and replace them with advisers chosen by 10 Downing Street if he wanted to remain in his post – conditions he said he was “unable to accept”.
Javid chose to quit instead, and was replaced by his former deputy at the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, in the biggest shock of Johnson’s shake-up of his ministerial team.
Speaking outside his home, Javid told reporters: “I was unable to accept those conditions and I do not believe any self-respecting minister would accept those conditions.”
And in his resignation letter, he told Johnson he believed it was “important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with”.
The bombshell – less than a month before the budget is announced – follows tensions between the ex-chancellor and the PM’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.
In August, Cummings had fired Javid’s aide Sonia Khan – and it appears Number 10 wanted to go further in keeping a closer eye on him.
Downing Street refused to guarantee that next month’s budget would go ahead as scheduled, with a spokesman saying only that “extensive preparations have already been carried out for the budget and they will continue at pace”.