How Sajid Javid returned to the top after falling victim to a political assassination

How Sajid Javid returned to the top after falling victim to a political assassination

Within days of his brutal draft from the Treasury last year, Sajid Javid was already planning his way back to the prime minister’s side – with the help of his spies in government and a useful friendship with the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson.

Within days of his brutal draft from the Treasury last year, Sajid Javid was already planning his way back to the prime minister’s side – with the help of his spies in government and a useful friendship with the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson.

Sir. Javid had been the victim of a political assassination attempt in February 2020 by Dominic Cummings, who at the time was still undisputed as Boris Johnson’s No. 10 pugilistic adviser.

Sir. Javid had lost a civil war in Whitehall with Mr Cummings after the adviser demanded that he dismiss his financial assistants and submit to his No. 10 operation – a move designed to leave Mr Javid without stopping. .

Now, ironically, he’s part of a seaweed movement that is forcing Rishi Sunak – his successor and potential future leadership competitor – to bow to the No. 10 will on how to deal with the exorbitant costs of the Covid crisis and social care.

Javid watched and waited as Sunak masterminded the economic response to the pandemic, while Cummings discredited himself with his ‘eye-testing’ Covid road trip to County Durham.

Sir. Javid maintained a foothold in the government’s inner circle through Mrs Johnson, who previously worked for Mr Javid along with backdoor contacts he had maintained with his old Treasury officials. He would also bombard No. 10 aides with offers to move on to the airwaves to defend the government during the many crises that erupted during his stay on the back benches.

That meant that when Cummings had been thrown into a power struggle with Mrs Johnson in November, Javid highlighted a prominent place in cabinet-change speculation. If Matt Hancock had not retired, Javid would have expected to replace Gavin Williamson as education secretary.

But Mr Hancock’s spectacular implosion over the ‘pit gate’ scandal gave Johnson a chance: Mr. Javid was installed as Mr Hancock’s successor within 90 minutes of his resignation being announced – but only according to sources, after Mr Javid agreed to help the Prime Minister put the thumbscrews on Mr Sunak over the need for a multi-billion pound health tax.

Sir. Javid is the perfect tag-team partner for Mr Johnson: a former chancellor who had struggled with the issue of social care within the treasury as recently as last year and who had researched the issue extensively in his time out of the cabinet.

Javid watched and waited as Sunak (pictured above after his Mansion House speech earlier this month) masterminded the economic response to the pandemic, while Cummings discredited himself with his 'eye-testing' Covid road trip to County Durham

Javid watched and waited as Sunak (pictured above after his Mansion House speech earlier this month) masterminded the economic response to the pandemic, while Cummings discredited himself with his ‘eye-testing’ Covid road trip to County Durham

For all No. 10 figures on being ‘in lockstep’ with No. 11 during the pandemic, the traditional tensions between Downing Street and the Treasury have begun to rise over the cost of the pandemic – as are assumptions that Mr Sunak is Mr Johnson’s heir. .

For Mr Johnson, Mr Javid represents a useful counterweight to the institutional strength of the Treasury and Mr Sunak’s electoral charisma.

Even before accepting the job, Mr Javid had told colleagues that there would be a need for increased spending on social care and the NHS in the coming years, noting that the gap between the government’s daily spending and revenue has been ballooning since he left the treasury. Sir. Javid also spent his time in the semi-desert researching several countries’ approaches to tackling the pandemic of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

His ally says Mr Javid has even raised the prospect of spending ‘wealth taxes’ on real estate, higher business rates or other assets to pay the bills – a move usually an anathema to traditional conservatives – in addition to new internet and environmental taxes , despite being hampered by the ‘tax lock’ in the Tory Manifesto and promising not to raise VAT, income tax or national insurance.

An ally of Mr Javid said: ‘Saj is aware that the rich have suffered much less during the pandemic and that there has been a major imbalance: their asset prices have risen so it makes sense to raise the money there. He would not necessarily even rule out an “incompatible tax” on people who had done well in the pandemic. ‘

For Mr Johnson, Mr Javid represents a useful counterweight to the Treasury's institutional strength and Mr Sunak's electoral charisma.

For Mr Johnson, Mr Javid represents a useful counterweight to the Treasury’s institutional strength and Mr Sunak’s electoral charisma.

A government source said: ‘Sajid continued his sources in the treasury – basically Rishi’s current officials – and has been keeping an eye on public finances. He also wanted to have informal talks with Rishi.

‘He’s been pretty close to No. 10 over the course of the year and contacts increased as Cummings left.

‘He had also earned credit thanks to the dignified nature of his departure and his refusal to strike back when Cummings attacked him.’

In contrast, Mr Sunak has become dissatisfied with the praise Mr Cummings has given him in recent months for his management of the economy, giving the – false – impression that the Chancellor is an ally and admires the former adviser. .

A lawmaker close to Javid said: ‘Saj is convinced that even the proposal to tax assets will make parts of the Tory party furious and that the next major political tension will be over the concept of “who pays” – with a phalanx of northern parliamentarians trying to tax the southern MPs to death and fierce opposition from shires. ‘

The MP added: ‘Tax increases would be incredibly difficult, but you could probably get people to back one up for social care – a mortgaged health tax – if it was sold to them the right way.’

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