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Analysis: Loss of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary is a major blow for Theresa May but Sajid Javid is a smart replacement

Sajid Javid is the new Home Secretary.
Sajid Javid is the new Home Secretary.
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Losing a Home Secretary to a scandal-linked resignation is never a good look for a Government.

When it follows the resignations of the Defence Secretary, International Development Secretary and de facto deputy prime minister in the space of six months it gives the impression of an administration in chaos.

But Theresa May at least avoided significant aftershocks in the very limited reorganisation of her Cabinet, which is not as easy as it looks for a diminished Prime Minister who botched a wider reshuffle in January when certain Ministers refused to move from jobs.

The appointment of Sajid Javid as Amber Rudd’s replacement as Home Secretary was touted by Tory MPs as a smart choice given his capable Cabinet work so far, and particularly amid the Windrush scandal.

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In a Sunday interview which looks like his audition for the job, or an official introduction before Ms Rudd was out of the door, Mr Javid acknowledged his Pakistani parents or indeed he could have fallen victim to the Home Office’s wrongful and aggressive questioning of Commonwealth citizens’ immigration status.

So his hiring looks shrewd at a time when the Government has acknowledged the department needs a more “human face”.

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But while he campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum, his appointment could tip the delicate balance in the Cabinet over the UK’s EU exit.

Mr Javid is on record as saying Britain must leave the EU customs union, while Ms Rudd last week equivocated, as Ministers gear up for a major battle amongst themselves and with MPs on the issue.

His replacement as Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, gets Mrs May another ultra-loyalist into the Cabinet after the departure of “human shield” Ms Rudd, who will now be watched closely to see if she sides with Remainer rebels or causes immigration headaches for the PM.