Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
26 June 2018updated 27 Jun 2018 8:54pm

The shape of Sajid Javid’s leadership bid is already clear

In appointing hard Brexiteer Tom Pursglove as his parliamentary private secretary, Javid has sent a clear message to Eurosceptic MPs: I’m your candidate. 

By Patrick Maguire

Sajid Javid is taking a long run-up to the next Conservative leadership race. He has emerged as the frontrunner among MPs since his appointment to the Home Office in April.

Euroscepticism is no small part of his appeal and, having backed remain in 2016 for what were either pragmatic or careerist reasons, depending on who you listen to, he has wasted no time in emphasising his credentials to colleagues.

First he torpedoed the customs model favoured by Theresa May and loathed by Brexiteers. Now he has nailed his colours to their mast by appointing Tom Pursglove, the hardline Leaver MP for Corby, as his parliamentary private secretary.

PPSs are the eyes and ears of ministers within the parliamentary party and the significance of the ambitious Javid picking Pursglove is clear, and has not been lost on his colleagues, a fair number of whom consider him the clear favourite.

One Tory tells me it appears a classic attempt to bring a troublemaker inside the government tent – comparing it to a botched attempt by David Cameron to appoint Sarah Wollaston, the independent-minded Totnes MP and former GP, as PPS to Jeremy Hunt – I’m not so sure.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

To say there is a tent is probably to overstate Theresa May’s authority. And given that Pursglove was a PPS anyway, he was already in it. Her cabinet ministers are essentially self-employed. Each has their own tent. In bringing Pursglove so ostentatiously into his, Javid is instead sending a clear signal to the dozens of Leavers whose support any leadership candidate hoping to actually win will need: I’m your man.