Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
25 October 2019

Sajid Javid U-turns and cancels the budget

Within cabinet, confusion reigns as to how the government intends to respond to the opposition's refusal to grant an election.

By Patrick Maguire

On Wednesday night, Sajid Javid insisted that the government would push ahead with the Budget on 6 November – regardless of any delay to Brexit. The Chancellor has since changed his tune. In a letter to Treasury Select Committee chairman Mel Stride this afternoon, Javid confirms that it will not be taking place after all.

Says the Chancellor: “Parliament has voted for a delay to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, so the government is now calling for a general election. I can therefore confirm that I have decided not to bring forward the Budget on 6 November.”

If Boris Johnson really does intend to make good on last night’s threat to take the government on strike and offer only minimal engagement with the Commons until it accedes to his demands for an election, then this is its opening salvo. But, with Johnson having since promised to plough on with his domestic legislative agenda, the messaging looks rather confused.

The government’s self-inflicted predicament means it is at the mercy of the opposition and cannot know for sure how long it will remain in office. That Johnson and his cabinet are struggling to arrive at a settled line on how they intend to use their stay of execution will convince some on the opposition benches, like John McDonnell, that their instinctive desire to keep the prime minister in post as a lame duck is well-placed. So while ministers might believe that legislative paralysis will convince the opposition to go for an election, they cannot be sure that they will acquiesce. 

And nor can ministers be sure of what Johnson wants. Not for the first time in his short tenure, Javid has been publicly undermined by No 10. If the Prime Minister’s own mixed messaging over the last 24 hours is anything to go by, the confusion within cabinet as to what the government is actually doing will reign until Labour plays ball. That could well be bad news for Conservative Party in need of a clear message as to why it wants a December election upon the public.

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 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
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What are the green skills of the future?
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets