Tom Richmond: Sajid Javid won’t deserve to succeed Theres May unless he works with others to tackle knife crime

IF Sajid Javid wishes to survive as Home Secretary, and further his blatant ambition to succeed Theresa May as the Brexit crisis deepens, he needs to learn from the Prime Minister’s strategic mistake and start being more collegiate.

Graeme Bandeira's latest cartoon.

By not involving Opposition parties and business leaders from the outset in the Brexit process, Mrs May has become hostage to fortune and allowed others – like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – to play politics and abdicate their responsibilities.

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And as speculation intensifies about Mrs May’s future, and who will succeed her, it should be pointed out that Mr Javid’s inadequate response to the knife crime epidemic –as offences reach their highest level since 2009 – stems from his contempt and disregard for Parliament.

Sajid Javid is the Home Secretary.

This is when he took to the TV and radio studios to call for more powers – the default tactic of any politician looking to ingratiate themselves with the public – rather than involving MPs.

This was exposed when Labour’s mild-mannered Vernon Coaker complained to the Speaker about this discourtesy. “Why is he not here to address this House about one of the most crucial things facing our constituents up and down this country?” he asked.

“A police chief told the Home Affairs Committee that 10,000 children were being exploited and used in county lines. Knife crime is rampant and young people are being slaughtered. Where is the Home Secretary?

“The Leader of the House (Andrea Leadsom) wrote to him two weeks ago to express the concern raised by all Members across the House about this issue. Where is he? How can he announce this in the papers and on the radio? That gives us no opportunity to ask him about the progress of the serious violence strategy.”

Tellingly, Ms Leadsom replied by saying that she shared Mr Coaker’s “grave concern” and John Bercow, the Speaker, weighed in and said that “simply writing a letter to an opposite number and then beetling off to do a radio or television interview” is “simply not up to the required standard”.

Violent crime, and the response by the Government and police force, should transcend party politics. It is time that Mr Javid recognised this if he wishes to further his career. After all, he won’t, as Prime Minister, be able to solve Brexit by himself, will he?

TALKING of Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader is one of the few Brexiteers who is still prepared to tough it out in government. Fair play to her for doing so.

Having come to prominence speaking for Leave in the TV debates prior to the referendum, could this former banker, and one-time Treasury Minster, be in line to become Britain’s first female Chancellor as a reward? If so, you read it here first.

TWO interventions by former Brexit Secretaries. Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, who quit the Cabinet last summer, backed Theresa May’s deal. Is he now playing the loyalty card ahead of a leadership contest?

His successor, Dominc Raab, made a speech on education, social mobility and the case for grammar schools – the latter always resonating favourably with Tory activists. Both are on manoeuvres.

ANOTHER unlikely supporter of Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement was Shipley MP Philip Davies, now a veteran Eurosceptic. Either he has won his longstanding campaign for a bypass for his town – or he found himself in the ‘Aye’ lobby after being asked if he had backed some winners at Cheltenham where Vintage Clouds, trained in his constituency by Sue and Harvey Smith, had, hours earlier, finished a gallant second under Danny Cook.

HAVE you noticed how Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, rarely sits in the vicinity of Theresa May or Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, during major Commons debates – and votes – on Brexit? Even though Britain’s exit from the EU is the defining foreign policy 
issue of these times, is he keeping his distance ahead of running in the Tory leadership?

JOHN Prescott – whose reputation continues to be enhanced by every one of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s failings – looked in good form on TV the other night. He told the story about a tetchy meeting with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when the latter wanted his chair adjusted.

Now Lord Prescott, the one-time ship’s steward did the running repair and then asked the PM if he wanted his chair be tweaked. The former Deputy Prime Minister says his former boss replied in the negative because “he was used to Gordon looking down on him”.

CARE Minister Caroline Dinenage made this statement to MPs this week: “Community hospitals provide vital in-patient care for people who need it most. As a whole, patients should be supported to recover in the most appropriate setting, which is quite often back in the heart of their local community and closer to home.”

Why, then, are services being scaled back at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital which serves whole swathes of rural North Yorkshire and why are residents still fighting to safeguard A&E provision at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Do tell, Minister.

I’VE now received a second pre-election leaflet from Jane Aitchison, Labour’s very left-wing candidate in Pudsey, and still no mention of Jeremy Corbyn. Why not? Either the Labour leader is viewed as a liability in this most marginal seats or the faithful are losing faith in the bearded one...