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British finance minister quits in reshuffle upset

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Sajid Javid leaves 11 Downing Street in London, Britain, on Sept. 4, 2019. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

AFP – British Finance Minister Sajid Javid resigned yesterday, in a shock move that deals a blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government just weeks after Brexit and a month before the annual budget.

The chancellor of the exchequer stood down after Johnson tried to use a reorganisation of his cabinet to get rid of some of Javid’s aides, a source close to the departing minister said.

He was immediately replaced by senior Treasury official Rishi Sunak.

Javid’s departure is a major upset at a turbulent time for Britain, just weeks after leaving the European Union on Jan 31, a process that has left the country with an uncertain future.

Johnson was on yesterday carrying out a cabinet reshuffle, his first since winning a comfortable parliamentary majority in the December general election.

Javid, a former City of London banker born into a working class Muslim family, was considered safe in his job despite reports of tensions between him and Johnson’s senior aide, Dominic Cummings.

But rumours began to circulate after his meeting with the prime minister went on longer than expected.

“He has turned down the job of chancellor of the exchequer,” a source close to Javid 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.”

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