Rt Hon Sajid Javid has become the first ever Asian Health Secretary in UK’s history. This is his third stint as one of UK’s top Cabinet Ministers, after serving as the Home Secretary from 2018-19 under former Prime Minister Theresa May and then becoming UK’s first ever Asian Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2019-20 under Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He has also been the Culture Secretary, Business Secretary and Communities Secretary in the past.
Similarly, this is the first time, four of the top Cabinet Ministerial positions have been occupied by Asian-origin MPs with links to India, viz. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Priti Patel, COP26 President Alok Sharma and now Mr Javid as the new Secretary for Health and Social Care.
Mr Javid took over after the former minister Matt Hancock resigned after he breached social distancing guidance by kissing aide Gina Coladangelo.
Mr Javid who was born in Rochdale in 1969 and grew up in Bristol, was a son of immigrant parents. His father Abdul Ghani-Javid and mother Zubaid were born in India but fled to Pakistan when young. They came to the UK in 1960s. His father was a bus conductor and driver and they lived in a two-bed flat, above a shop they ran. Mr Javid has four brothers, who have all excelled in their respective fields of finance, property, retail and police force.
He has been the Tory MP for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire since 2010 and has four children viz. Sophia, Suli, Rania and Maya with his wife Laura and live in Chelsea and Fulham.
Before entering politics, Mr Javid worked in a few roles in finance and was an aide to Republican politician Rudy Giuliani. He resigned as the Chancellor in February 2020, after PM Boris Johnson’s then senior advisor Dominic Cummings sacked Mr Javid’s adviser Sonia Khan who was escorted out of Downing Street by police. Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings then told Mr Javid that he must dismiss all his advisors and replace them by people that No 10 chose for him.
Mr Javid was replaced by Rishi Sunak. He therefore took up extra jobs as a senior fellow at Harvard university and as a senior advisor to JP Morgan Chase. In the past he has been heralded as Britain’s first-ever Asian Prime Minister material.
His appointment back into the Cabinet has been described by The Times as a ‘Lazarus-like political revival for a key ally of Carrie Johnson’.
Mr Javid said he was ‘honoured’ to be the new Health Secretary and working hard to accomplish the target of Freedom Day on 19 July.
Reaction to the new appointment
Congratulating him and a fellow son of a bus driver, Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted, “Always good to see the children of bus drivers do well! Congrats @sajidjavid on your appointment as Health Secretary. Look forward to working together to protect our communities from this awful pandemic, get London vaccinated and continue opening up our city and country safely.”
However, Zarah Sultana MP, one of many fearing privatisation of NHS under Mr Javid, tweeted, “Sajid Javid is the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Alongside being an MP, last year Javid was hired as a paid senior advisor to the US bank JP Morgan. JP Morgan is a major player in private healthcare. The NHS isn't safe in the Conservatives' hands. The new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, earns £150k as an advisor to US bank JP Morgan. JP Morgan say they ‘see the opportunities that lie ahead’ for private healthcare. The ultimate ‘opportunity’ for private healthcare is NHS privatisation. The NHS isn't safe with the Tories.”
Many medical professionals were also seen tweeting urging for a ‘change in treatment’ of frontline workers under the new Health Secretary.