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PM Johnson names Sajid Javid as Britain's new finance minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP World Jul 24, 2019, 11.28 PM (IST)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named former interior minister Sajid Javid to take over from Philip Hammond as finance minister in his first cabinet appointment, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Javid, a former banker from a modest background, was a contender for the premiership but endorsed Johnson when he failed to get enough support from fellow Conservative MPs.

Before he took office, several pro-European ministers quit in protest at his threat of a "no deal" Brexit, fearing the economic consequences among them were de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington, Britain's defence secretary Penny Mordaunt too resigned. Mordaunt said she will not serve in new Prime Minister Boris Johnson's team of senior ministers.

Johnson sacked Jeremy Hunt who challenged him to the prime minister's office.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged Johnson to call a general election, saying he "has no mandate from the people".

In a speech in Downing Street, Johnson repeated that he would prepare to leave the EU without an agreement with Brussels but suggested this was a "remote possibility".

In typically upbeat fashion, Johnson insisted he could find a way through and unite the country.

"We are going to fulfil the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts," he declared.

Watched by his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, the former London mayor said "the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters are going to get it wrong again".

But he added: "It is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate and we are forced to come out with no-deal."

Story highlights

Javid, a former banker from a modest background, was a contender for the premiership but endorsed Johnson when he failed to get enough support from fellow Conservative MPs.