SAJID JAVID’S resignation is a victory for the PM’s top adviser Dominic Cummings in their bruising Whitehall power struggle.
Mr Javid was the first minister to be named when Mr Johnson unveiled his cabinet after taking office in July.
His appointment was seen as a reward for his strong performance in the early stages of the Tory leadership contest to succeed Theresa May.
But within weeks, he and Mr Cummings — who had been tasked by the premier to head his Downing Street operation — were at loggerheads. The feud erupted when the PM’s top aide fired Mr Javid’s special adviser Sonia Khan, accusing her of staying in contact with her old boss, ex-chancellor Philip Hammond. Mr Javid, who was not informed in advance, was said to be livid.
It set the pattern for an increasingly fraught relationship between the two men with different visions for the direction the government should be taking.
While Mr Cummings was reportedly keen to cast off spending constraints with extra cash for the police and NHS, the then chancellor was determined to keep control of the public finances.
The rift deepened when Mr Johnson returned to No.10 after winning the election, promising to ‘level up’ for the North and Midlands after the Tories broke Labour’s hitherto impregnable ‘red wall’. Allies of Mr Cummings referred to Mr Javid as ‘Chino’ — ‘chancellor in name only’.
But despite the tensions, his position going into the reshuffle appeared secure. He was reported to be working well with Mr Johnson, and was said to enjoy the support of the PM’s girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, who had previously worked for him as a Tory adviser.
In contrast, there were suggestions Mr Cummings’s influence was on the wane.
But that quickly changed as he became the victim of a classic ambush bearing all the hallmarks of Mr Cummings.
Chino was chancellor no more.