James Forsyth

Exclusive: Sajid Javid to back staying in the EU

Exclusive: Sajid Javid to back staying in the EU
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Sajid Javid will campaign for Britain to stay in the EU. The Business Secretary’s decision is a blow to the Leave camp which had been hopefully of recruiting him; Javid had spoken in the past of how he was ‘not afraid’ of Britain leaving the EU as it ‘would open up opportunities’. Senior figures on the Leave side had hoped that Javid would help them persuade voters that quitting the EU would not be bad for business.

Those familiar with the Business Secretary’s thinking say that what has swung Javid to IN is his sense that it is just too risky for Britain to leave right now given the parlous state of the global economy. I suspect that he will be deployed by the IN campaign to try and persuade those crucial swing voters who are attracted to the idea of getting Out of the EU but are worried about the risks in doing so.

Javid’s decision will be greeted with sighs of relief in both Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. Osborne is particularly close to Javid, Javid served both as Osborne’s PPS and as one of his junior Treasury minister before entering the Cabinet, and the Chancellor wouldn’t have wanted him on the other side from him in this campaign, making the economic case for Brexit.