Sajid Javid has returned to the cabinet, just over a year after resigning as Boris Johnson’s chancellor following a power struggle between him and Vote Leave aides in No 10, including Dominic Cummings.
Javid’s return to Johnson’s top team has been widely anticipated for months, but has happened sooner than expected owing to the vacancy created by Matt Hancock’s resignation as Health Secretary.
Javid’s appointment as his successor is expedient for the Prime Minister in multiple respects: it averts any immediate need for a wider reshuffle and will please MPs and figures across the Conservative Party, including some who have been less keen on Johnson’s premiership.
“He is very popular with colleagues, especially after resigning as chancellor,” said one Conservative MP with a track record of speaking out against some of the government’s decisions. Other MPs and advisers have spoken warmly of Javid’s appointment and the high regard he is generally held in.
But while the appointment is largely being viewed as positive by Conservative MPs, there has been one dissenting voice. Cummings has taken to Twitter to describe Javid as “hopeless”, arguing that the furlough scheme introduced under Rishi Sunak would not have happened had Cummings not “tricked” the Prime Minister into firing Javid. Cummings has also suggested that the appointment was influenced by Johnson’s wife Carrie Symonds, a special adviser to Javid while he was communities secretary.
But whether they welcome the appointment or not, the analysis from Cummings and Conservative MPs is not so very different: everyone is in agreement that the balance of power in No 10 has fundamentally changed: the Vote Leave gang is out and Sajid Javid is having the last laugh.