Safe Hands Sajid: Can the New Home Secretary Repair the Tory Party After Tough Night at the Polls?

Sajid Javid

Sajid David. Credit: Richter Frank-Jurgen via flickr

After her involvement in the Windrush scandal, it was just a matter of time before the former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, fell on her sword.

She has since duly resigned and a replacement has already been installed: the MP for Bromsgrove, Sajid Javid.

The 48-year-old takes on the role at a key time in British politics, with the Brexit negotiations – and subsequent period of acclimatisation – ongoing and in the immediate aftermath of a tough night at the polls for the Conservatives after the local elections on May 4.

They gained just two extra councillors – thanks in part to the collapse of UKIP, with significant wins for the Liberal Democrats and Labour, who gained an additional 41 and 32 councillors respectively.

So the new Home Secretary has a lot on his plate, but if he can help to restore the Tories as the dominant party in the UK then his chances of being named Theresa May’s successor – the bookmakers have him installed as a 12/1 chance for the role – will increase significantly.

Javid Ready for Ultimate Revenge on May?

It was just two years ago that Sajid Javid was demoted by the Prime Minister. The business secretary was moved to a new role as ‘communities secretary’ – a move considered a relegation by all in politics – when Theresa May took over the reins at 10 Downing Street from David Cameron.

Soon enough, he is expected to have a chance of exacting the ultimate revenge.

Javid is highly thought of in political circles, with Jack Straw and Cameron both tipping him for great things, while in 2014 Forbes Magazine compared him to Barack Obama and predicted he will one day be Prime Minister.

That’s a long way from humble beginnings living in a two-bedroom flat above a shop with his parents and four brothers, and includes a career as a banker for various institutions which ultimately made Javid a millionaire.

Elected in 2010, Javid won an 11,000 seat majority in Bromsgrove – a position he ahs retained in subsequent elections, and he ahs been praised for his stance in reaffirming media freedom and the right of the press to investigate political wrongdoing both of individuals and of the collective.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of Javid’s political career is his stance as a ‘Remainer’ as far as Brexit is concerned; putting him at odds with most senior figures in the Conservative party.

There is an intriguing subplot to Javid’s ascent to Home Secretary, and you wonder if old animosities with May will resurface. He publicly opposed her plans to give Ofcom ‘counter-extremism powers’ in vetting media materials before they are published in 2015 – a clear infringement of the right of free speech. A matter of months later, he was demoted to communities secretary in a move that could easily be construed as a ‘punishment’ for his outspoken opposition.

And just this week, he has spoken out against the Prime Minister’s plans for a customs union post-Brexit.

It’s quite possible then that Javid and May are on a direct collision course; the keys to 10 Downing Street may just be the ultimate prize.

Voters Deliver Judgement on Tories and Labour as Lib Dems Soar

It has been a round of local elections notable for ups and downs for both the Tories and Labour – the first time that the voting public have had a chance to pass judgement since last year’s general election.

The Conservatives gained seats in Barnet, Basildon and Peterborough, and held on to key Labour-targets including the London borough of Wandsworth. However they lost their traditionally cosy council in Richmond to the Liberal Democrats.

The polls also delivered mixed results for Labour, who lost Barnet and failed to capture a number of Tory seats they had targeted. They did, however, win in Plymouth.

It was a god night for the Liberal Democrats, who were the biggest gainers up and down the country. They have a long way to go in rebuilding the trust lost after the coalition government debacle, but they have made good strides in doing exactly that.

Reflecting on the local elections, the BBC’s assistant political editor, Norman Smith, spoke about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. He said: “There was a sense after the general election that this was a man on a charge, a man on the momentum, a man who had built up this massive party.

“Last night, that sort of Corbyn momentum seemed to stall and in some significant areas outside of London, seemed to go backwards.

“There is no sign of a major haemorrhage in Tory support.”