David Cameron took almost all of Westminster by surprise when he announced on Twitter that Sajid Javid, a key ally of George Osborne, would replace Maria Miller as culture secretary (becoming the first of the 2010 Tory intake to enter the cabinet). Most had bet on another woman taking her place, with Esther McVey, Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss among the frontrunners.
But all become clear minutes later when Cameron announced that Nicky Morgan, currently the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, would take over from Javid as Financial Secretary and serve as minister for women, attending cabinet in that capacity. By promoting Morgan to the cabinet, Cameron has ensured that the number of women doesn’t fall below the already lamentable level of five but Javid’s ascension to Culture Secretary means there are now just three full members of the cabinet who are female (Theresa May, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers) and not a single mother.
But in appointing Javid, the PM has wisely rewarded one of the brightest of the 2010 Tory intake (he became a vice president at Chase Manhattan at 25) and gone some way to addressing the Tories’ ethnic minority problem. Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, has previously urged Cameron to addresss the toxic legacy of Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech, calling for the PM to say Powell “doesn’t represent what the Conservative Party is today in any way and to set out what the Conservative Party actually is when it comes to race relations, multiculturalism and so forth”
It’s also worth noting that Javid has taken over the equalities brief from Miller. Morgan’s opposition to equal marriage (she voted against it last year) was almost certainly a factor in the decision not to give her the job.