London: The son of Pakistani parents who emigrated to Britain in the 1960s, new interior minister Sajid Javid took charge Monday of a ministry in crisis over its treatment of immigrants. The 48-year-old former investment banker became the first home secretary from an ethnic minority. It is one of the four great offices of state in British politics along with prime minister, foreign secretary and finance minister, and also one of the toughest.
He replaced Amber Rudd, who resigned on Sunday night following a crisis over the threatened deportation of members of the Windrush generation, whose families moved to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s. The day before his appointment, Javid had told The Sunday Telegraph that issue felt “very personal”, saying: “I thought, that could be my mum, it could be my dad, it could be my uncle, it could be me.”
Javid now takes responsibility for resolving the situation, promising to treat those affected with “decency and fairness”, as well as dealing with wider immigration policy, policing and counter-terrorism. Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said Javid, who formerly ran housing policy and before that was business minister, had “proved his drive, his ambition and his determination to get to grips with difficult subjects”.
– Long-tipped for high office –
Javid has risen swiftly through the ranks since his election to parliament in 2010, and his personal history has made him a poster boy for the Conservative Party, for which self-reliance is key.
His father arrived in Britain with nothing but £1 in his pocket, working in a cotton mill in Rochdale, near Manchester in central England.
He later moved his family — including Javid, one of five siblings — to the southwestern English city of Bristol, working as a bus driver and then taking over a ladieswear store.
The area was tough but Javid went to university and made a successful career in banking, first at Chase Manhattan Bank and then at Deutsche Bank, before entering politics.
Javid now represents the face of modern, multicultural Britain — his parents are Muslim but he does not practise, while his wife Laura, with whom he has four children, is a church-going Christian.
A Thatcherite and supporter of free markets, he had a history of euroscepticism but came out against Brexit in the 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union.
Rudd was a strong supporter for staying in the bloc, and Javid will now replace her on key cabinet committees that will help decide the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of Brexit day in March 2019.