• The new chancellor Rishi Sunak is only 39 years old
  • Javid had tense relationship with Dominic Cummings, Johnson's senior adviser
  • Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith was sacked


Sajid Javid resigned as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer on Thursday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffled his cabinet.

The stunning developments came less than two weeks after the U.K. exited the European Union and two months after the general election.

Javid quit after he refused to carry out an order by Johnson to fire his staff of aides. Javid was reportedly shocked by Johnson’s sudden request.

"The prime minister said [Javid] had to fire all his special advisers and replace them with Number 10 special advisers to make it one team. The chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms," a source told BBC.

Javid had been slated to unveil his first budget in about a month.

Javid reportedly had a tense relationship with the prime minister's senior adviser Dominic Cummings.

Javid’s relationship with Cummings worsened last August when Cummings fired Javid’s press secretary, Sonia Khan, after she allegedly leaked some government documents (a charge she denied).

On Thursday, Javid was replaced as chancellor by Rishi Sunak, formerly the chief secretary to the treasury. Sunak was a junior housing minister only seven months ago and an early and vocal supporter of Johnson.

The cabinet also witnessed other changes: Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom were fired. Housing Minister Esther McVey and Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers were also removed from their positions. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was asked to resign by Johnson

Priti Patel remains as home secretary, Dominic Raab keeps his job as foreign secretary and Michael Gove stays as minister for the cabinet office.

Alok Sharma was appointed as business secretary.

The new chancellor of the exchequer, Sunak, is only 39 years old, and educated at Winchester College and Oxford University. In 2015, he was elected MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire, succeeding former Conservative leader William Hague.

Sunak was named a housing minister in 2018, before his promotion to chief secretary to the Treasury last July.

Prior to entering politics Sunak worked for Goldman Sachs (GS) and a hedge fund, then later co-founded an investment firm. His wife Akshata Murthy is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, an Indian billionaire and co-founder of IT services colossus Infosys (INFY).

John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, was staggered by the sudden changes at the top. "This must be a historical record with the government in crisis after just over two months in power,” he said. "Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge [Sunak] as chancellor."

Laura Kuenssberg, BBC’s political editor, wrote that the relationship between Javid and Johnson, as individuals, “has been OK but there have been clashes between their wider teams.”

Kuenssberg called Sunak’s sudden emergence “a massive elevation.”

“A step up to chancellor this quickly is a huge ask,” she wrote. “He has not been tested in any significant way -- but was seen as a reliable performer during the general election campaign.”

Javid’s abrupt departure now gives Johnson and Cummings complete control of the Treasury,

Heather Stewart of the Guardian wrote that clashes between Javid and Johnson’s advisers “had been whispered about at Westminster” for weeks.

“Johnson and his team were irked at a series of briefings about Javid’s role in big decisions – including pre-empting the announcement on HS2 [the new high-speed railway] by revealing the Treasury would back it,” she wrote. “And there have been some policy differences, too, though Downing Street insists these formed no part of the conversation on Thursday morning.”