Sajid Javid: Who is Britain's first Health Secretary of Asian descent?

Sajid Javid’s appointment as Health Secretary sees him return to a Cabinet he abruptly left in shock fashion some 16 months ago.

New Health Secretary Sajid Javid

He was just six months into his role as Chancellor, and less than a month away from delivering his first Budget, when he quit after being told he must sack all his advisers if he wanted to keep his job.

His departure in February last year came after a bruising Whitehall power struggle with Boris Johnson’s then chief adviser Dominic Cummings – and saw Richmond MP Rishi Sunak take charge of the Treasury.

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But in a reversal of fortunes it is Mr Javid who returns to Boris Johnson’s top team, while Mr Cummings hurls criticism from outside Government.

Carrie Symonds, the Prime Minister’s wife, who previously clashed with Mr Cummings, was once a special adviser to Mr Javid during his tenure as communities secretary.

Mr Javid’s previous showdown with Boris Johnson reached a climax when he refused to dismiss his team of aides and replace them with a joint No 10/No 11 unit.

In a Commons statement, Mr Javid said chancellors had to be able to “speak truth to power” and “the arrangement proposed would significantly inhibit that, and it would not have been in the national interest”.

He was the shortest-serving Chancellor since Iain Macleod, who died shortly after taking office in 1970, according to the Institute for Government.

Before his appointment this month, Mr Javid said he would be introducing a private member’s Bill to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18, to protect vulnerable teenagers from religious and cultural pressures to marry too young.

Mr Javid is the son of a bus driver, who arrived in England from Pakistan in the 1960s with just a pound in his pocket. To colleagues, he is The Saj.

Born in Rochdale and raised in Bristol, he went to a state school and studied economics and politics at Exeter University.

He left behind a career in finance and became MP for Bromsgrove in 2010. According to his website, Mr Javid was a vice president at the US bank Chase Manhattan at the age of 25 and later moved to Deutsche Bank, rising to senior managing director before he left in 2009.

He held roles in the Treasury from 2012 until he was made Culture Secretary in April 2014, later going on to become Business Secretary in May 2015 and Communities Secretary in July 2016.

After being made Home Secretary in April 2018, Mr Javid talked openly about how he experienced racism at an early age and “could have had a life of crime” after growing up on “Britain’s most dangerous street”.

Now Health Secretary, this is Mr Javid’s sixth Cabinet-level role – one less than the number of posts held by Tory grandee Ken Clarke, the last Chancellor to make a comeback at the top table of British politics.