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Javid: Tory big beast walking away with a wealth of experience

Sajid Javid is to stand down as an MP at the next election (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Sajid Javid is to stand down as an MP at the next election (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sajid Javid has announced he will stand down at the next election, the first Tory big beast to join the drip of MPs exiting amid a polling slump.

Mr Javid, known as “the Saj” to colleagues, is walking away from Parliament with a wealth of experience under his belt.

He often said he held a unique perspective on government business, having served in a number of ministerial roles, making his departure particularly painful for a party fearing a “brain drain”.

The 52-year-old has held six Cabinet jobs and launched two unsuccessful Tory leadership bids since beginning his parliamentary career 12 years ago.

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.

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

The father-of-four left behind a lucrative career in finance and became MP for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire in 2010.

A meteoric rise saw him hold roles in the Treasury from 2012 until he was made culture secretary in April 2014, becoming business secretary in May 2015 and housing 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”.

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid was appointed health secretary in the middle of the pandemic (Peter Byrne/PA)

His appointment to the role made him the first British Asian to hold one of the great offices of state.

Mr Javid, who supported Remain in 2016, made his first run at the Tory leadership in 2019.

He made it to the final four in the contest to replace Theresa May but dropped out and subsequently endorsed Boris Johnson.

He was soon appointed to Mr Johnson’s first cabinet as chancellor.

But he was just six months into his role 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.

Some 16 months later Mr Javid returned to Cabinet as health secretary, after his predecessor Matt Hancock resigned from the role after breaking social distancing rules by kissing an aide in his office.

Mr Javid faced a baptism of fire, taking the job in the middle of the Covid pandemic.

His plans to help the NHS resume usual activity and tackle the backlog of care were waylaid as the Omicron wave swept over the UK.

In the wake of a series of scandals engulfing Mr Johnson’s leadership – including Partygate – Mr Javid published an explosive resignation letter in July of this year, declaring that he had lost confidence in the then-prime minister.

Its release, minutes apart from Rishi Sunak’s resignation letter, effectively kickstarted a slew of ministerial departures that ultimately led to Mr Johnson’s demise.

Mr Javid launched his second bid for the Conservative leadership in the summer but bowed out after apparently failing to garner enough support from fellow MPs.

He then threw his weight behind Liz Truss in the race, but later conceded that was a “mistake” in the wake of the financial chaos unleashed by her brief premiership.

Mr Javid said he had “wrestled” with the choice for “some time” as he announced his exit from Parliament on Friday, shortly after the Tories were stung by a mid-term defeat in the City of Chester by-election.

Prime Minister Mr Sunak said he was “sad” his “good friend” Mr Javid is planning to step down, adding: “May the Force be with you, Saj”.

As well as being ideological soulmates on the Thatcherite wing of the Tory party, the pair share a love of Star Wars, with Mr Sunak once tweeting a picture of them together at the cinema, where they watched The Rise Of Skywalker.