Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced, with Dominic Cummings suggesting ‘Saj’s’ appointment is down to Boris Johnson’s new wife Carrie.

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions. 

A statement from Downing Street on Saturday night said: ‘The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.’  

Mr Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer in February 2020 and was replaced by the current incumbent, Rishi Sunak – who was previously Mr Javid’s deputy in the Treasury department.

Javid’s resignation came after Mr Johnson tried to sack his entire team in 2019, and amid rumours of a tumultuous relationship with Johnson’s former senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who himself resigned in November last year.

But despite their stormy relationship, Mr Javid has returned to the Prime Minister’s cabinet after over a year in the cold as an emergency replacement for Mr Hancock, who resigned at around 6pm on Saturday night. 

Mr Javid’s appointment was announced less than two hours later, at around 7.50 pm. 

Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced

Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced

Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) will replace Matt Hancock as Health Secretary, Downing Street has announced

The former Chancellor quit government in February 2020 during a Cabinet reshuffle, which is believed to have been largely orchestrated by Mr Cummings, who pushed for Javid’s entire team of advisers to be sacked. 

Mr Javid, who also served as home secretary in then-Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, from April 2018 to July 2019, was odds-on to return to government after Cummings’ November departure.

Reacting to the new appointment, Cummings claimed it was all orchestrated by the Prime Minister’s new wife Carrie Johnson, who previously worked for Javid.

‘So Carrie appoints Saj!,’ Cummings tweeted. ‘NB If I hadn’t tricked PM into firing Saj, we’d have had a [Treasury] with useless [Secretary of State]/[Special Advisors], no furlough scheme, total chaos instead of JOINT 10/11 team which was a big success.

‘Saj = bog standard = chasing headlines + failing = awful for NHS. Need #RegimeChange,’ Cummings added. 

The MP for Bromsgrove will be an experienced addition to the Cabinet, having held a number of other senior top jobs, including Home Secretary, Business Secretary and Housing Secretary.

He has known the Prime Minister since Boris Johnson’s days as Mayor of London. Mr Javid, then Culture Secretary, worked with him on the Olympic legacy. 

He is also close to Carrie Johnson, who once worked as his aide. The three of them danced the night away at her 30th birthday in 2018.

When Mr Johnson became Prime Minister, Mr Javid made history as the first British-Asian Chancellor. However, his time at the Treasury was cut short and he never delivered a Budget.

Reacting to the new appointment, Cummings claimed it was all orchestrated by the Prime Minister's new wife Carrie Johnson, who previously worked for Javid. Pictured: Sajid Javid's 50th birthday party, where he was joined by joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds

Reacting to the new appointment, Cummings claimed it was all orchestrated by the Prime Minister's new wife Carrie Johnson, who previously worked for Javid. Pictured: Sajid Javid's 50th birthday party, where he was joined by joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds

Reacting to the new appointment, Cummings claimed it was all orchestrated by the Prime Minister’s new wife Carrie Johnson, who previously worked for Javid. Pictured: Sajid Javid’s 50th birthday party, where he was joined by joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds

The former Eurosceptic embraced Remain under Theresa May’s premiership. However, once at the helm of the Treasury he stepped up planning for No Deal and focused on delivering Brexit.

But old tensions emerged with the Vote Leave camp, led by Mr Cummings, in No10. The senior aide sought to take control of the Treasury operation, publicly firing Mr Javid’s adviser Sonia Khan within the first month. After becoming Chancellor, Mr Javid sought to downplay reports of a rift, but there was a power struggle during Mr Johnson’s first reshuffle.

Following a No10 power grab, Mr Javid resigned as Chancellor after being told he had to sack his advisers to remain in the job, saying ‘no self-respecting minister’ could accept such a condition.

He was widely credited with a dignified departure, and refrained from attacking Mr Cummings throughout. As a backbencher he has been loyal to Mr Johnson and the Government, and backed its approach to the pandemic.

As an MP he has raised awareness of child exploitation. This month he tabled legislation to raise the minimum age for marriage in England and Wales to 18. He also led calls to close a legal loophole to protect children from grooming by ‘predatory adults’.

Mr Javid was born in Rochdale and was the first in his family to attend university, studying economics and politics at Exeter. His father, Abdul Ghani-Javid, arrived in the UK in 1961 from Pakistan with a £1 note in his pocket. He worked as a bus driver before opening a shop selling clothes.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, walks out of his house to speak with a television news reporter after resigning from his post on February 13, 2020 in London

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, walks out of his house to speak with a television news reporter after resigning from his post on February 13, 2020 in London

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, walks out of his house to speak with a television news reporter after resigning from his post on February 13, 2020 in London

One of five brothers, Mr Javid grew up in a two-bedroom flat above the family shop in Bristol. His mother, Zubaid, spoke no English and the young Sajid would translate for her. He was told by one of his teachers that his future lay in repairing TVs, and was urged to drop maths. Mr Javid persisted with the subject, with his parents hiring a tutor. He eventually got top marks in the subject.

After Exeter, he had a successful career in finance, first rising to vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank, then Deutsche Bank, where he ran credit trading in Asia.

He once said: ‘They often tell you that unless you wear an old school tie or have the family contacts, you just won’t get a chance to work in the City. But they were wrong.’

He married his childhood sweetheart, Laura, and the couple have four children as well as a cavapoo called Bailey. While in Downing Street, Bailey made headlines when the Prime Minister’s dog Dilyn reportedly made advances on him in the garden.

Mr Javid has been a Tory supporter since the early 1980s and attended his first party conference as a student. In 1990 he got into trouble for handing out leaflets opposing the decision to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

In 2010, he was elected as an MP, reportedly giving up a £3million salary to earn just under £66,000.

He has described George Osborne as a one-time mentor – Mr Javid joined the Government as economic secretary to the Treasury in 2012 while Mr Osborne was Chancellor. He quickly rose through the ranks to more senior roles.

In 2019 he ran for party leader before being eliminated in the fourth round. His candidacy was backed by Ruth Davidson, then Scottish Conservative leader, who described him as ‘smart, articulate and always on top of detail’.

His appointment last night means Mr Johnson avoids a wider reshuffle of his ministerial team. As well as tackling the pandemic, Mr Javid will be in charge of introducing landmark reforms of the NHS. Mr Hancock was due to introduce the plans in the Commons tomorrow.

Mr Javid will face pressure to present a plan to deal with the social care crisis. Mr Johnson pledged to fix the system in 2019.

The proposals have been repeatedly delayed, and are now expected by the end of this year.

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions

The news came less than two hours after Matt Hancock announced his resignation from the position following the emergence of video footage showing him kissing an aide in his ministerial office in a breach of coronavirus restrictions 

After initially refusing to resign, Mr Hancock wrote a letter of resignation to Boris Johnson on Saturday in which he said the Government ‘owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down’.

It later come to light that the Health Secretary told his wife, Martha, that he would be leaving her on Thursday night – immediately after discovering that his affair with Gina Coladangelo was about to be laid bare.

Images and video showed Mr Hancock in an embrace with aide Ms Coladangelo last month, and the Health Secretary was facing increasing pressure to quit over the breaking of social-distancing rules.

Mr Hancock added: ‘The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.

‘I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this. I also need (to) be with my children at this time.’ 

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: 'I've been to see the Prime Minister to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made - that you have made'

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: 'I've been to see the Prime Minister to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made - that you have made'

Mr Hancock also said in a video posted to Twitter: ‘I’ve been to see the Prime Minister to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. I understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made – that you have made’

The Prime Minister said he was ‘sorry’ to receive Mr Hancock’s resignation as Health Secretary, adding he ‘should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us’. 

Boris Johnson continued: ‘I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over.’

Ms Coladangelo is also reportedly leaving her position on the board of the Department of Health.

Mr Johnson had refused to sack Mr Hancock, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.  

In response to Mr Hancock’s letter, the Prime Minister wrote: ‘You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us.’

And he said: ‘Above all, it has been your task to deal with a challenge greater than that faced by any of your predecessors, and in fighting Covid you have risen to that challenge – with the abundant energy, intelligence, and determination that are your hallmark.’

On Saturday Conservative MPs began to break ranks to call for Mr Hancock to go.

Veteran Tory Sir Christopher Chope said his constituents were ‘seething’.

Norfolk Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said: ‘In my view people in high public office and great positions of responsibility should act with the appropriate morals and ethics that come with that role.’

Mr Johnson had refused to sack Mr Hancock, with his spokesman saying the PM considered the matter closed after receiving the West Suffolk MP’s apology on Friday.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him.’

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘It is right that Matt Hancock has resigned. But why didn’t Boris Johnson have the guts to sack him and why did he say the matter was closed?

‘Boris Johnson has demonstrated that he has none of the leadership qualities required of a Prime Minister.’

Liberal Democrats’ leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: ‘Matt Hancock’s legacy as Health Secretary will be one of cronyism and failure.

‘And the fact that Boris Johnson thought Hancock could just carry on regardless brings the Prime Minister’s judgement into question once again.’

Mr Hancock’s three-year tenure as health secretary came to an end after The Sun newspaper published stills of what appeared to be CCTV footage from inside his ministerial office of him kissing Ms Coladangelo.

Ms Coladangelo, a friend from Mr Hancock’s days at Oxford University, was brought into DHSC as an unpaid adviser last year before being given the £15,000-a-year role of non-executive director in the department.

Legislation in place at the time said that ‘no person may participate in a gathering’ that ‘consists of two or more people… and takes place indoors’.

An exception to this rule was that the gathering was ‘reasonably necessary for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services’.

Tory MPs and ministers will also have been eyeing the by-election in Batley and Spen next week.

Christchurch MP Sir Christopher told the BBC the impact on the West Yorkshire vote was on his mind.

Labour MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch, had been preparing to write an open letter to Conservative MPs and the Tory candidate in the election, Ryan Stephenson, challenging them to tell Mr Hancock to resign.

Before he did, Sir Christopher told Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘Of course I feel that. And that’s another reason why I think that the sooner he goes the better, because otherwise the last few days of the campaign are going to be dominated by this issue and it’s obviously not going to be very helpful for the Conservatives.’ 

Matt Hancock’s resignation letter in full

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to resign as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic. The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis. I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologise to my family and loved ones for putting them through this. I also need be with my children at this time.

We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down as I have done by breaching the guidance.

The NHS is the best gift a nation has ever given itself, and the dedication and courage of the NHS staff and the ceaseless work of the officials in the Department is something we should all be proud of. We didn’t get every decision right but I know people understand how hard it is to deal with the unknown, making the difficult trade-offs between freedom, prosperity and health that we have faced. I am so proud that Britain avoided the catastrophe of an overwhelmed NHS and that through foresight and brilliant science we have led the world in the vaccination effort, so we stand on the brink of a return to normality.

The reforms we have started in the health system will ensure it continues to provide even better care for people in years to come. We are building a better NHS which makes smarter use of technology and data, forming a new UK Health Security Agency, delivering positive changes to mental health care and will fix the problems in social care once and for all.

Many times I stood at the podium in Downing Street and thanked the team – my own team, the NHS, the volunteers, the Armed Services, our pharmacists GPS, the pharmaceutical industry and the whole British public who have made such sacrifices to help others. Those thanks are heartfelt and sincere and so I must resign.

It has been the honour of my life to serve in your Cabinet as Secretary of State and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. I will of course continue to support you in whatever way I can from the back benches, and I would like to thank you for your unwavering support, your leadership and your optimism, particularly as we worked together to overcome this awful disease.

MATT HANCOCK 

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