Boris Johnson Is 'Not Going Anywhere', Says Sajid Javid

·3 min read
Javid said that while Johnson's job was safe, people were
Javid said that while Johnson's job was safe, people were

Sajid Javid has downplayed speculation of a leadership challenge against Boris Johnson, declaring: “He’s not going anywhere.”

The health secretary threw his support behind the prime minister following the toughest 24 hours of Johnson’s premiership, in which he witnessed one of his own MPs dramatically defect to Labour.

While the move dealt a hammer blow to the PM just moments before he addressed MPs in the Commons, there are reports that Christian Wakeford’s switch to Labour has in fact taken the sting out of the rebellion that was mounting against him.

Javid is one of a number of Conservative MPs who have been tipped to succeed Johnson since his leadership hit the rocks over the partygate scandal engulfing No.10.

Asked whether he would throw his hat in the ring against Johnson, Javid told Times Radio: “He’s not going anywhere.”

And when asked on Sky News whether he would run against the PM, Javid declared: “There is no leadership election” and that Johnson had his “complete support”.

Johnson’s future hung in the balance yesterday amid reports that Tory MPs had been submitting letters to Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee, to trigger a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Wakeford, who was elected in 2019 for Bury South, was one of a handful of Tory MPs who had publicly called for his resignation.

Outlining his reasons for defecting in a letter to the PM, Wakeford said his decision was about “much more than your leadership and the disgraceful way you have conducted yourself in recent weeks”, adding: “I care passionately about the people of Bury South and I have concluded that the policies of the Conservative government that you lead are doing nothing to help the people of my constituency and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.”

And In a sign that discontent spanned the generations, former Cabinet minister David Davis stood up in the Commons and told Johnson directly: “In the name of God, go.”

But by the end of the day there were signs that Wakeford’s defection had galvanised support for the PM.

Andrew Percy, the MP for Brigg and Goole MP, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it had “calmed nerves” and that Johnson “is probably thanking Christian for what he did because it’s made a lot of people think again, think twice”.

Javid acknowledged the damage that was done both by Davis’s intervention and by Wakeford defection but asked on BBC Breakfast if Johnson was “safe in his job”, he replied: “Yes, I think he is.

“At the same time, people are right to be angered and pained about what they have seen and they have heard. I share that anger and pain.

“I think it is right that there is a proper investigation going on that will establish the facts and that the prime minister will come back to parliament and properly respond.”

The health secretary also denied that the lifting of Plan B Covid restrictions in England was about “saving the skin” of the prime minister.

Yesterday Johnson announced that the work from home order, Covid passes and mandatory face masks will all be scrapped, in a move that was seen as an attempt to bring mutinous MPs back on side.

But Javid said “people would be wrong to think that”, adding that it was the view of the government’s scientific advisers that the peak of the latest wave has been reached.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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