Cabinet reshuffle: Sajid Javid resigns as Chancellor of the Exchequer
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hold on to his Cabinet seat
By Bill Heaney
BBC News is reporting that Sajid Javid has resigned as chancellor as Boris Johnson, left, carries out a post-Brexit cabinet reshuffle, which was expected to be dull and, frankly, boring.
But it exploded into a top political story when Mr Javid rejected an order to fire his team of aides, saying “no self-respecting minister” could accept such a condition.
He has been replaced as chancellor by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak – who just seven months ago was a junior housing minister.
Mr Javid had been due to deliver his first Budget in four weeks’ time.
The former home secretary was appointed chancellor by Mr Johnson when he became prime minister in July.
His resignation follows rumours of tensions between Mr Javid and the prime minister’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.
Meanwhile, Julian Smith became the first casualty of British prime minister Boris Johnson’s government reshuffle after being unceremoniously dumped as Northern Ireland Secretary.
His departure comes just weeks after brokering the deal which restored the powersharing administration in Stormont.
Mr Smith said it had been “the biggest privilege” to serve the people of Northern Ireland and he was “extremely grateful” to have been given the chance to serve “this amazing part of our country”.
“The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible,” he said on Twitter. “Thank you so much.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid warm tribute to Mr Smith’s role in the North, calling him “one of Britain’s finest politicians of our time”.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, pictured her centre wiith Prime Minister Boris Johnston, on a visit late last year to HM Naval Base at Faslane on the Gareloch.
Mr Wallace, widely tipped to lose his Cabinet seat prior to the Reshuffle, was involved in controversy over the wearing of a military medal.
Attending a military awards ceremony, he wore the Northern Ireland service medal adorned with the bronze oak leaf that, as a Scots Guards officer, he won in 1992 for being mentioned in dispatches after capturing an IRA unit.
But some guests were more interested in a second medal that was pinned to his chest during the ceremony – known as The Millies – to mark the valour of the Armed Forces.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal was introduced in 2012 and is given to military personnel and emergency service workers with at least five years’ continuous service until at least February 6, 2012.
But Mr Wallace left the Army around 1998, sparking speculation that he was wearing a medal he had not earned.
The Mail on Sunday established, however, that he is entitled to wear it through his association with the Royal Company of Archers (RCA), a little-known ceremonial society whose members are largely drawn from Scotland’s nobility.
Two local members are former Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ high-ranking officers, Andrew Dewar Durie and Malcolm McVittie, both of whom served in Northern Ireland.
Mr Dewar-Durie was the managing director of Allied Distillers when it employed 1,500 people in the Scotch whisky industry and its main office and distillers was in Castle Street, Dumbarton.
But Mr Wallace’s rather peculiar entitlement to the medal has not impressed everyone.
One serving Non-Commissioned Officer at The Millies said: “Nobody doubts the Defence Secretary’s gallantry, but as he only qualified for the Jubilee Medal through membership of this peculiar ceremonial outfit, he was perhaps not best advised to wear it to the Millies or on Remembrance Sunday which he has done in the past.
“A few soldiers were muttering that perhaps they worked a bit harder for the right to wear it than the Archers, who haven’t drawn a bow in anger for centuries.”
Under legislation introduced in 1991, ministers forced out of office are entitled to a quarter of their yearly ministerial salary if they are under the age of 65.
The prime minister sacked eight ministers in the reshuffle on Thursday, with the group now entitled to payouts worth thousands of pounds.
Rishi Sunak becomes Chancellor after Javid’s shock resignation.
Reshuffle: Who’s in and who’s out
Top of the list is Geoffrey Cox, who was earning a salary of £94,450 in his role as attorney general.
His sacking means he is now entitled to a sum of £23,612.
They were fired as Northern Ireland secretary, business secretary and environment secretary, respectively.
Departing housing minister Esther McVey, pictured left, universities minister Chris Skidmore and transport minister George Freeman are entitled to £7,920 each.
Ms McVey’s departure means the Conservatives will appoint a tenth housing minister in their less than ten years in power.
Nusrat Ghani, who was sacked as a more junior minister at the Department for Transport, is entitled to £5,594. The eight departing ministers’ entitlements add up to £103,595.