Yorkshire's Rishi Sunak takes over treasury as British finance minister Sajid Javid quits in reshuffle

AFP London, United Kingdom Feb 13, 2020, 05.49 PM(IST)

Britain's Finance Minister Sajid Javid. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Javid's resignation came after Johnson replaced Northern Ireland minister Julian Smith, in a surprise move just weeks after he brokered the restoration of power-sharing government in Belfast.

Britain's finance minister, Sajid Javid, resigned on Thursday, just weeks after Brexit and a month before he was due to deliver the government's annual budget. Rishi Sunak replaced Javid.

Sunak, 39, has a business background and previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, effectively Javid's number two.

Javid's spokesman confirmed he would be leaving just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson carried out the first reshuffle of his cabinet since winning a parliamentary majority in December's election.

Also read: 'Britain will prosper': Prime Minister Johnson 

The domestic Press Association news agency quoted an unnamed source close to Javid as saying Johnson wanted him to sack his team of aides but he refused.

"He has turned down the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer," the source said.

"The prime minister said he 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."

Also see: Chief characters in Britain's years-long Brexit saga

Javid's resignation came after Johnson replaced Northern Ireland minister Julian Smith, in a surprise move just weeks after he brokered the restoration of power-sharing government in Belfast.

It follows weeks of rumours about tensions between the Treasury and the premier's closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, who has promised a shake-up of government operations.

Javid, 50, is a former high-flying banker who moved into politics, serving as interior minister before replacing Philip Hammond as chancellor of the exchequer in July last year.

Hammond locked horns with Johnson's predecessor Theresa May over her Brexit strategy.