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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sajid Javid: UK’s shortest-serving finance minister since 1970

Sajid Javid is the only British Asian to have held two out of Britain's four great offices of state. His departure after 204 days as finance minister comes less than a month before he was due to deliver his first budget.

By: Reuters | London | Updated: February 14, 2020 7:46:20 am
Sajid Javid, britain treasurer sajid javid, boris johnson uk, uk cabinet reshuffle, rishi sunak uk finance minister Javid, 50, is the son of a Pakistani bus driver who was advised at school to become a television repairman

Sajid Javid unexpectedly quit as Britain’s finance minister on Thursday amid a reshuffle of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, becoming the shortest-serving chancellor of the exchequer since 1970.

Here are some details about Javid, the only British Asian to have held two out of Britain’s four great offices of state. His departure after 204 days as finance minister comes less than a month before he was due to deliver his first budget.

* Javid, 50, is the son of a Pakistani bus driver who was advised at school to become a television repairman. He has recounted how his father came to Britain from Pakistan with one pound in his pocket and how he faced racial abuse at school.

* Javid was seen as a steady, if uncharismatic, pair of hands. He was a minister who is described by several public servants who worked for him as decisive and clear. But he is not universally liked in the Conservative Party, being described as a man who does “not have star quality” by one veteran member.

* Some Brexit supporters are critical of his decision to back “Remain” in the 2016 EU referendum despite him previously describing himself as an eurosceptic.

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* Javid is a great admirer of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher – he had a portrait of the “Iron Lady” in his office – and her emphasis on supply-side reforms had rubbed off. But he also planned backed a big increase in public spending as finance minister ahead of the March 11 budget.

* After studying economics and politics at the University of Exeter, Javid became a banker, first for Chase Manhattan and then between 2000 and 2009 for Deutsche Bank. In his maiden speech in parliament, Javid said that being a banker was a good preparation for being a politician because both professions are disliked by members of the public.

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