Sajid Javid insists 'he's not one of life's quitters' as he explains reasons behind ministerial resignation

Mr Javid stepped down from his role as Health Secretary yesterday

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Sajid Javid has insisted he's not "one of life's quitters" as he explains the reasons behind his ministerial resignation.

Last night, Mr Javid stepped down as Health Secretary, saying the British people “expect integrity from their Government” but voters now believed Mr Johnson’s administration was neither competent nor “acting in the national interest”.

In a statement in the House of Commons, Mr Javid said: "Despite what it might seem, I am not one of life’s quitters, I didn’t quit when I was told that boys like me don’t do maths.

"I didn’t quit when old school bankers say I didn’t have the right school ties and I didn’t quit when people in my community said I should not marry the love of my life."

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid

Mr Javid told MPs: “It is incumbent on all of us to set high standards for ourselves and to take action when they are not met by others.”

He added: “I also believe a team is as good as its team captain and a captain is as good as his or her team. So, loyalty must go both ways.

“The events of recent months have made it increasingly difficult to be in that team.

“It’s not fair on ministerial colleagues to go out every morning defending lines that don’t stand up and don’t hold up.

“It’s not fair on my parliamentary colleagues, who bear the brunt of constituents’ dismay in their inboxes and on the doorsteps in recent elections.

“And it’s not fair on Conservative members and voters who rightly expect better standards from the party they supported.”

The Prime Minister's handling of the row over scandal-hit former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher became the latest issue to raise questions over his judgment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

And the former Health Secretary said he gave the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt on Partygate, but added “I do fear that the reset button can only work so many times”.

He said: “When the first stories of parties in Downing Street emerged late last year I was personally assured at the most senior level by my right honourable friend’s then team that, and I quote, ‘there had been no parties in Downing Street and no rules were broken’.

“So I gave the benefit of doubt. And I went on those media rounds to say that I’d had those assurances from the most senior level of the Prime Minister’s team.

“Then we had more stories. We had the Sue Gray report, a new Downing Street team. I continued to give the benefit of the doubt.”

After saying that “enough is enough”, Mr Javid said he appreciated the Prime Minister’s “kind and humble words, and his humble spirit when I went to see him yesterday”.

He added: “But I do fear that the reset button can only work so many times. There’s only so many times you can turn that machine on and off before you realise that something is fundamentally wrong.”

A host of ministers have since followed Mr Javid in stepping down, including ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Will Quince resigned as children and families minister earlier today, saying he could not accept being sent out to defend the Prime Minister on television with inaccurate information about Mr Pincher.

While Laura Trott quit as a ministerial aide, saying “trust in politics is – and must always be – of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost”.

Schools minister Robin Walker, Treasury minister John Glen, Minister for Prisons and Probation Victoria Atkins and Housings Minister Stuart Andrew and have also stepped down.

And in an apparent message to members of the Cabinet who have not resigned, Mr Javid said “not doing something is an active decision”.

He said: “Last month I gave the benefit of doubt one last time… I have concluded that the problem starts at the top and I believe that is not going to change and that means that it is for those of us in a position who have responsibility to make that change.

“I wish my Cabinet colleagues well and I can see they have decided to remain in the Cabinet. They will have their own reasons.”

Laughter could be heard in the chamber, as Mr Javid went on: “But it is a choice. I know just how difficult that choice is. But let’s be clear, not doing something is an active decision.”