LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tightened his grip on the government Thursday with a Cabinet shake-up that triggered the unexpected resignation of his Treasury chief, the second-most powerful figure in the administration.
Sajid Javid’s resignation was the most dramatic moment in a shuffle that saw Johnson fire a handful of Cabinet members he viewed as underperforming or untrustworthy, and promote loyal lawmakers to senior jobs.
Javid smiled as he entered the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. office on Thursday morning to meet Johnson along with other ministers who were being promoted or kept in place. But a spokesman confirmed soon after that Javid had quit.
Speaking later, Javid said Johnson had asked him to fire all his aides and replace them with staff approved by the prime minister’s office.
“I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions,” Javid said.
“I felt that I was left with no option other than to resign.’’
Johnson quickly replaced him with Rishi Sunak, who had previously been a deputy to Javid at the Treasury and is widely regarded as a dependable loyalist to the prime minister .
Johnson’s office confirmed it was creating a new team of advisers covering both the prime minister’s office and the Treasury.