BORIS Johnson’s reshuffle is “in tatters,” his political opponents have claimed, after Sajid Javid dramatically resigned as the Chancellor – just weeks before the Budget.
Mr Javid was urged by the Prime Minister to agree that all his special advisers resign but refused to stay on in such circumstances.
The bombshell move throws up the prospect that Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief aide in Downing St, who has clamped down on the activities of so-called Spads, could have been behind the move to make all of Mr Javid’s advisers go.
One recent claim was that Mr Cummings had set up a “network of spies” to watch special advisers suspected of passing over information to journalists.
In September, Sonia Khan, a Treasury media adviser, was escorted by armed police from Downing St after a confrontation with No 10’s chief strategist over her contact with those close to Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor.
Rishi Sunak, the 39-year-old Chief Secretary of the Treasury, regarded as a rising star, has been promoted to the Chancellorship.
Mr Javid made clear that “no self-respecting minister” could accept the condition being imposed upon him.
A source close to the Midlands MP said: “He has turned down the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Prime Minister said he had to fire all his special advisers and replace them with Number 10 special advisers to make it one team.
“The Chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell noted: “Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge as Chancellor.”
His Labour colleague, Ian Murray, the MP for Edinburgh South, said: “This extraordinary reshuffle has revealed who is really in charge of this government: Dominic Cummings.
“Sajid Javid has shown a loyalty to his team that is all too rare in politics, standing up to the Trump-style politics on display from No 10.
“The reshuffle demonstrates that we need a Labour Party at full strength to stand up to Johnson and his puppet master, because the country deserves better than this shambles. That’s why Labour must choose change, not continuity,” added the deputy leadership candidate.
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said: “Boris Johnson has lost control. Rather than prioritising the interests of people across the country, he is embroiled in an ego battle between his de-facto deputy Dominic Cummings and his former Cabinet ministers.”
Ed Davey for the Liberal Democrats added: “Boris Johnson’s reshuffle is in tatters. He has lost his Chancellor a mere month from the Budget.
“Like every crisis at No 10 you can see Dominic Cummings lurking in the background. This is the Conservatives’ own unelected bureaucrat, unaccountable to the public attempting to control every part of Government.
“The Liberal Democrats will continue oppose this woeful Tory Government and offer real solutions to the deep challenges and injustices our country faces.”
Dominic Raab, as expected, stays as the Foreign Secretary, while Michael Gove remains as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the Cabinet Office, raising expectations that later in the day he could be named as the new COP26 President.
More to follow.