Sajid Javid quits as UK chancellor

Sajid Javid has resigned as chancellor of the Exchequer for the U.K. | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson appears to centralize control via a reshuffle of his top team.

LONDON — Sajid Javid surprised Westminster Thursday when he quit as U.K. chancellor during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s big reshuffle.

Javid repeatedly clashed with top Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings, and resigned over a demand that he sack his closest advisers and replace them with No. 10 aides to make one team, according to a Treasury official.

“The chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms,” the official said.

He was replaced in the job by former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak, who will work more closely with Number 10 in a new political unit.

The merger suggests Johnson wants to concentrate power at the top of government, and will likely be seen as a power grab by Cummings, who has a reputation for wanting to keep ministers and their teams in check.

Elsewhere in the reshuffle, Cabinet ministers Andrea Leadsom (business) Theresa Villiers (farming and environment), Geoffrey Cox (attorney general), Julian Smith (Northern Ireland) and Esther McVey (housing) were sacked.

Dominic Raab was kept on as foreign secretary, Priti Patel stays heading the Home Office, and Michael Gove holds onto his job as the boss of the Cabinet Office. Gove is set to oversee preparations for quitting the EU institutions at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Alok Sharma was promoted to business secretary and will take over the running of the COP26 climate conference, due in November. Meanwhile, transport ministers George Freeman and Nus Ghani were sacked, and science minister Chris Skidmore said he would also be leaving the government.

Developing story — more to follow.