LONDON – Conservative party heavyweight Sajid Javid has been named as the UK’s new Health Secretary after Matt Hancock was forced to quit the role for breaking Covid rules.
According to The National News, a former chancellor of the Exchequer, Javid steps in as the government tries to bring an end to coronavirus restrictions despite a rise in infections fuelled by the Delta variant of the virus.
He returns to the Cabinet more than a year after losing a power struggle with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings, who criticised the government recently.
Javid was one of the contenders for the Conservative party leadership in 2019 in the contest eventually won by Johnson.
He subsequently became chancellor, the UK equivalent of finance minister, but resigned last year after a clash with Johnson over the hiring of department aides.
Javid said he had no option but to resign after he was ordered to replace his political advisers..
“I was unable to accept those conditions. I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions,” he said.
It followed reports of clashes between Javid and Cummings, who was then Johnson’s top adviser.
Cummings was himself ousted in November amid a power struggle in the Prime Minister’s Downing Street office, which was rumoured to involve Johnson’s wife, Carrie Johnson.
Cummings suggested on Saturday that Johnson was behind Javid’s return to the government.
He claimed that he had “tricked” Johnson into removing Javid, whom he described as “bog standard” and “awful” for the National Health Service.
Javid said his top priority now was to bring about a “return to normal” in the UK.
“We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible,” he said.
Javid’s Pakistani parents arrived in the UK in 1961, where his father worked as a bus driver in Rotherham before setting up his clothing business, Scallywags, in Bristol.
The middle sibling of five Javid children, he acknowledges his Muslim heritage but does not practise a religion.
Javid has spoken of his personal memories of racial abuse as a child.
He graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Economics and Politics in 1991 as the first of his family to attend university.
He had a successful career in the upper echelons of the financial sector, starting with a spell at New York’s Chase Manhattan bank.
On his return to Britain, he worked at Deutsche Bank International, rising to the board of directors.
He was elected MP for Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in 2010. He is married to Laura and has four children.