Newly appointed Health Secretary, Sajid Javid is no stranger to adversity. Inheriting a very tumultuous situation from his predecessor Matt Hancock, Sajid has also been given a monumentally large undertaking following the recent scandal involving Matt Hancock and his aide.
Now in charge of the vaccine rollout and the possible lifting of Covid regulations on the 19th of July, Sajid has an excellent chance to showcase his political abilities to the British public and to carry on his position into less turbulent periods. However, Sajid’s journey to become a key component of the Conservative administration was not an easy one.
Sajid is one of five sons and was born in Rochdale in 1969. His mother and father were Pakistani migrants who had come to the UK to start a new life with new oppurtunities. Sajid’s father was known as ‘Mr Night and Day’ as he would work every hour possible, exhbiting a terrific work ethic.
Furthermore, Sajid says his father came to Britain with only a single pound in his pocket. This hard work, resilience and dedication was transferred to Sajid when his father sat him down about his misbehaviour and slacking off at school. After this humbling and eye-opening conversation Sajid’s academic work ‘rocketed’.
Growing up in Bristol in a two bedroom flat above their ladieswear shop, Sajid and his family grew up on what was deemed by one tabloid as ‘Britain’s most dangerous street’, Stapleton Road. Regarding the area, Sajid said that it would have been very easy to be sucked into the world of crime, as he was in an area swamped with illegal drug activity. Thankfully, Sajid never got involved in these practises that destroy the lives of so many young people.
Around this time, Sajid gained a spark for the financial sector, largely from the influence of Margaret Thatcher, who was present in Sajid’s ministerial office in the form of a portrait. Sajid began reading the Financial Times on a regular basis and went to his father’s bank to borrow £500 to invest in shares.
Education and Economics
Spurning his school’s suggestion to become a TV repairman, Sajid would head to Filton college to follow his economic and political ambitions. Sajid would then go on to study economics and politics at Exeter University. He was also lucky enough to meet his future wife Laura while working for a commercial union one summer.
It took Sajid no time at all to grasp the banking industry, by the time he was 25 he was already the vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank. During this time he also acted as an aide for Rudy Giulani, who is most well-known for his support of Donald Trump’s election claims. He also moved to Singapore to become a managing director at Deutsche Bank solidifying his experience in economics and banking. This experience would go a long way to securing some of his later political roles such as his chancellorship.
Elections and Appointments
In 2010 Sajid was elected as the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove in the General Election. He ran on typical messages of small state ambitions and the importance of self-reliance. Sajid quickly rose through the Conservative Party and by 2014 he was the first cabinet minister of Asian descent as the Secretary of culture, media and sport.
In 2015 Sajid was appointed as Secretary of State for Business as a reflection of his past experience. However, during this time he was confronted with the Steel Crisis which some argue he gravely mishandled by souring relationships with steelworkers.
Despite being critical of the EU’s immigration policy Sajid backed David Cameron in supporting Britain remaining in the EU. Following Cameron’s following resignation Sajid’s position in the Party was to be altered.
Under the newly appointed Theresa May, Sajid was appointed firstly as the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. This was seen by many as a demotion from his previous position. He also had to handle the Grenfell disaster as Secretary for Housing. His critics argued that he did little to nothing to tackle hazardous cladding moving forward.
However, following Amber Rudd’s resignation with the Windrush Scandal Sajid was appointed as the new Home Secretary. As a son of migrants Sajid said the scandal ‘immediately impacted’ him, as Home Secretary Sajid was caught up in his own controversy regarding Shamima Begum and her British citizenship which he denied due to her time with the terrorist group ISIS.
All of these examples not only show Sajid’s versatility, but the amount of pressure and the number of challenges he has faced in his positions. Unfortunately, for Sajid this would not end when Boris Johnson was appointed as Prime Minister.
Recent Resignations and Turmoil
Sajid was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This meant he became the first person of colour to hold one of the ‘Great Offices of State‘. Unfortunately, Sajid would only remain in this office for six months due to clashes with other Conservative Party members and aides.
In August 2019 Sajid Javid’s aide Sonia Khan was sacked by Dominic Cummings’ without Javid’s permission or knowledge. It is also alleged that Cummings asked an armed officer to escort Khan from Downing Street. Sonia Khan has since agreed an out-of-court settlement with the government taking them to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
There would be further clashes between Sajid and Johnson’s advisor, but the one that eventually led to his resignation also involved the dismissal of his own advisors. Sajid was told to sack his own advisors and to take on those appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Sajid said ‘no self-respecting minister’ would do so and resigned from his position.
This is a great example of Sajid’s integrity and loyalty to those around him. He would sooner resign and lose his position than dismiss those who had supported him during his time as chancellor. Sajid returned to the backbench and also took up a new role with JP Morgan.
His Return as Health Secretary
With the scandal surrounding Matt Hancock and his resignation the health secretary position was once again open. Boris needed to appointment someone who was regarded as consistent and a dependable figure. It was for these reasons that Sajid was appointed as the new Health Secretary.
Overcoming a turbulent year. Sajid has been appointed to a position that provides ample opportunity to show that he is not only a key component of the Conservative Party, but also of the nation.
With his appointment alone Sajid is combating the stereotypes and prejudice that British Muslims face. There is no better way to curb discrimination than shining examples of communities and ethnicities. Sajid has said that race and religion is ‘not something that should be the determinant of what kind of politician they will or will not be.’ While our differences should be acknowledged and celebrated we also should not allow them to define ourselves or our communities.