New health secretary named
Sajid Javid has resigned and been replaced by Steve Barclay as health and social care secretary.
Mr Barclay, previously chief of staff to the prime minister, was reported as having been given the role on Tuesday evening.
Before that he was chief secretary to the Treasury, where he had a reputation for being very hawkish towards the health service, resisting moves to spend more on it. He was also a health minister from January to November 2018.
Mr Barclay said: “It is an honour to take up the position of Health and Social Care Secretary. Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again - throughout the pandemic and beyond - what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives. This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the Covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need.”
Mr Barclay’s appointment came hours after Mr Javid — health secretary since June last year — announced his resignation, saying in a letter to Boris Johnson that he “can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government” and that Mr Johnson has lost his confidence.
Mr Javid said: “The tone you set as leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country.
“Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither.
“The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”
Mr Javid’s resignation comes amid huge pressure on the prime minister over his handling of claims of inappropriate behaviour of deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, as well as the long running controversy over parties in Downing Street.
Mr Javid took over as health and social care secretary in June 2021.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also resigned on Tuesday evening, as did two Parliamentary private secretaries, including Saqib Bhatti, who was PPS to Mr Javid. PPSs are MPs who also help ministers with their work, particularly in Parliament.
Mr Barclay said in a statement: “It is an honour to take up the position of health and social care secretary. Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again - throughout the pandemic and beyond - what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives.
“This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need.”
Updated at 9.05pm on 5 July after appointment of Steve Barclay, and at 6.30am on 6 July with comment from Mr Barclay.