British finance chief affirms 'fantastic' relationship with PM

Finance Minister Sajid Javid (left) was reportedly "livid" about the firing of his press aide by the top adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PHOTO: REUTERS
Finance Minister Sajid Javid (above) was reportedly "livid" about the firing of his press aide by the top adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Britain's Finance Minister Sajid Javid yesterday said he had a "fantastic" relationship with Prime Minister Boris Johnson after reports of a furious argument with the Prime Minister after the sacking of one of his aides.

British media had reported that Mr Javid was "livid" about the firing of his press aide by Mr Johnson's top adviser Dominic Cummings, who was looking into whether government officials had helped opponents of the Premier's Brexit plans.

Mr Javid said that although it would be inappropriate to directly discuss personnel issues, his views were "well understood" after the media reports. However, he said he got on well with Mr Johnson.

"The relationship is fantastic with the Prime Minister," Mr Javid told BBC radio. "(He's) someone I've always got on with incredibly well, and it's been a real privilege to work with him so closely."

Mr Javid would not be drawn on how well he got along with Mr Cummings, but denied assertions by the opposition Labour Party that Mr Johnson's aide was effectively running the Treasury.

Mr Johnson gave Mr Javid the finance portfolio when he took office in July, and the apparent tensions between Downing Street and the Treasury come at a delicate time.

Mr Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal on Oct 31, heralding a showdown with Parliament, at a time when his government is also seeking to outline new domestic priorities.

 

Mr Javid is due to announce a one-year government spending plan on Wednesday with a focus on more funding for education, health and the police. Mr Johnson announced details of a rise in spending on schools on Friday, while Mr Javid announced £400 million (S$675 million) of investment for further education yesterday.

Mr Javid said such moves were a sign of the smooth operation of government. The Conservative government has a majority of just one in Parliament.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 01, 2019, with the headline 'British finance chief affirms 'fantastic' relationship with PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe