Sajid Javid replaced by Rishi Sunak as Chancellor

Sajid Javid has resigned as Chancellor as the PM shakes up the Treasury with the appointment of Rishi Sunak, who has been chief secretary since July 2019

Sunak only joined the Treasury last summer and had previously held a junior housing minister post.

The announcement came as part of Boris Johnson's post election reshuffle. Other senior posts in the cabinet, including the home secretary and foreign secretary remain unchanged. Dominic Raab MP remains foreign secretary, Priti Patel home secretary and Michael Gove retains his post as minister for the Cabinet Office

Javid had only been Chancellor since July 2019 when he was appointed by Johnson when he took over as prime minister following his election as Conservative party leader following the resignation of Theresa May.

He was due to deliver his first Budget next month and will be the only Chancellor to have been in the position for such a short time that he was unable to deliver a Budget since Randolph Churchill. This was not helped by circumstances beyond his control with Brexit delays and the December general election.

He resigned after refusing to accept the PM's condition that he sack his special advisers.

In his resignation letter, Javid said: ‘While I am grateful for your continued trust and offer to continue in this role, I regret that I could not accept the conditions attached to the reappointment.

'It is crucial for the effectiveness of government that you have people around you who can give you clear and candid advice. I also believe that it is important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with.'

At the Treasury, Sunak's successor as chief secretary to the Treasury was named as Stephen Barclay. He was previously Brexit secretary from November 2018 to January 2020. 

The sudden resignation was met with shock and surprise. Nimesh Shah, a partner at accounting and tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, said it was unbelievable to see that a Chancellor has left so close to the first Budget of the new government.

 Shah said: ‘We would expect a lot of the Budget material will already be in place, more so because a Budget was already planned before the election which had to be postponed. 

‘However, any major changes and decisions that were to be announced would presumably need to be put on hold and assessed by the new Chancellor.’

Andrea Leadsom has been sacked as business secretary and has been replaced by Alok Sharma MP as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy. He will also be minister for COP26. This means that once again the responsibility for audit reform is in new hands. Sharma was previously secretary of state for international development and has been replaced at DfID by Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Sharma is a chartered accountant and qualified at Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, and then worked for 16 years in investment banking. He was elected as Conservative MP for Reading West in May 2010 and has been a government minister since June 2017. He has also been a member of the Treasury Committee and started his political career as parliamentary private secretary to Oliver Letwin.

Mike Suffield, director of professional insights at ACCA, said: ‘With the audit sector awaiting the government’s response to Sir Donald Brydon’s report on the future of audit, ACCA would urge new secretary of state Alok Sharma to provide a timely update on the next steps his department intends to take.

‘We also call on the minister to ensure COP26 is transformative and puts green and sustainable finance firmly on the map, and addresses key challenges ahead of November 2020.’

Who is Sunak?

Before moving to the Treasury last July, Sunak had been a junior minister since January 2019 working as under secretary of state at the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government. He was elected Conservative MP for Richmond, Yorkshire in May 2015, the seat previously held by former Tory leader William Hague.

Before he went into politics, Sunak worked in business and finance, primarily at a number of hedge funds, including the Childrens Investment Fund Management, before leaving to co-found another fund, Theleme. He went to Oxford and has an MBA from Stanford, and is the son-in-law of Indian industrialist Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of global tech and consulting giant Infosys.

When he was first appointed to the Treasury, Sunak sets out his credentials as an entrepreneur on his constituency website, saying that ‘I have been fortunate to enjoy a successful business career. I co-founded a large investment firm, working with companies from Silicon Valley to Bangalore. Then I used that experience to help small and entrepreneurial British companies grow successfully. From working in my mum’s tiny chemist shop to my experience building large businesses, I have seen first-hand how politicians should support free enterprise and innovation to ensure our future prosperity’.

 

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