Two days after the general election, Sajid Javid held his 50th birthday party in a glitzy Westminster hotel. There was a cake in the shape of a Chancellor’s Red Box, a buffet of Indian food, Bhangra dancers and about 150 guests – almost none of whom were politicians. Branches of the Javid clan had come down from Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol. “Everyone invited here,” he told guests, “is a personal friend.” At the centre table sat Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds, his partner, the guests of honour.
In his reshuffle today, the Prime Minister invited Javid in early so he could be the first to be reappointed. He was full of praise for the Chancellor, but said he’d like a tiny tweak: would he mind sacking all of his advisers, and instead use a team sent in from No 10? A fresh start, he said. To help them work better together. Javid was appalled. To him, this wasn’t about advisers but about raw power. No10, he concluded, wanted to pull the Treasury levers itself – and he would end up being a Chancellor in name only. So he quit.
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