London, 13 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid unexpectedly resigned from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Thursday.
Javid quit because he refused to accept Johnson’s order to sack his advisers as a condition of remaining chancellor, the BBC quoted sources as saying.
Javid only moved to the job in July, after his predecessor, Philip Hammond, resigned upon Johnson’s elevation to prime minister.
“This is a historical record. A government in chaos within weeks of an election [in December],” tweeted Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
“It’s clear Dominic Cummings has won the battle to take absolute control of the treasury and has installed his stooge as the chancellor,” McDonnell said, referring to Johnson’s controversial senior aide.
Rishi Sunak was promoted from a junior treasury post to replace Javid.
In another controversial move, Johnson sacked his Northern Ireland secretary.
Departing Julian Smith tweeted his thanks to Johnson for giving him “the chance to serve this amazing part of our country.”
Smith’s dismissal surprised many observers as he had recently helped to broker the resumption of power sharing in Northern Ireland’s devolved government, after a three-year suspension.
“In eight months as secretary of state, Julian you helped to restore power sharing in Stormont [Northern Ireland], secured an agreement with us to avoid a hard border [after Brexit], plus marriage equality,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar tweeted.
“You are one of Britain’s finest politicians of our time,” Varadkar said.
Colum Eastwood, leader of Northern Ireland’s moderate Irish nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), thanked Smith for his “tireless commitment to devolution.”
“Sacking the most successful SoS [secretary of state] in a decade shows Johnson’s dangerous indifference to us,” Eastwood tweeted.
“The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible,” Smith wrote.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom also tweeted that she was leaving the cabinet.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel both kept their jobs.
Johnson had planned the reshuffle “to set the foundations for government now and in the future,” Downing Street said earlier.
“He wants to promote a generation of talent that will be promoted further in the coming years,” it said.
Johnson also wanted to reward lawmakers who had helped to “deliver on this government’s priorities to level up the whole country and deliver the change people voted for last year,” it said, referring to the snap election in December.