Kate Andrews

Sajid Javid turns on Rishi Sunak

Sunak will keenly feel his friend's lack of support

Sajid Javid turns on Rishi Sunak
Credit: Rishi Sunak
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Liz Truss has been rolling out the endorsements this week, and tonight she adds one of the Tory’s most established politicians to her list. Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid has endorsed the Foreign Secretary, praising her ‘willingness to challenge the status quo.’

The endorsement is not wholly surprising; with several polls out in the past few days giving Truss a very comfortable lead amongst Tory members, anyone thinking about the make-up of the next cabinet might feel increasingly inclined to make their support known. The real surprise is in the pointed commentary towards Truss’s competitor Rishi Sunak, whom Javid implies is ‘sleepwalking’ the UK ‘into a big-state, high-tax, low-growth, social democratic model.’

This is a big break from the sense of comradery well-established between the two, as well as similar lines of economic thinking. Both former bankers, the pair ended up in the Treasury together after the 2019 election landslide. Sunak, acting as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Sajid Javid in his (albeit brief) stint as Chancellor, described his boss at the time as ‘Master Jedi’ only a few days after the election. When Sunak replaced Javid after a row with the Prime Minister over staffing, the pair remained friendly: Javid was both publicly and privately supportive of Sunak in the role. While there was no formal coordination between their resignations from cabinet last month, there was no doubt after the fact that both were on the same page about the state of the Tory party under Boris Johnson’s premiership.

It seems that page has turned for Javid. He is now very bluntly rejecting Sunak’s vision for the economy. Dial down those hopes for any more movie-night snaps of these two in the near future.