Sajid Javid speech: full transcript of former Health Secretary’s statement to MPs on Boris Johnson

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The former health secretary delivered a personal statement to MPs after PMQs, in which he explained his decision to resign

Here is the full transcript of Sajid Javid’s statement to MPs:

Mr Speaker, I’m grateful for your permission to make this statement.

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Yesterday we began our day together, you, I, the Prime Minister and members from across this House, when we broke bread together at the parliamentary prayer breakfast. And we listened, all of us, to the words of Reverend Les Isaac, who spoke about the fact that responsibility comes with leadership, the responsibility to serve the interests of others, above your own. And to seek the common ground of your party, your community, and above all, your country.

Now colleagues will be forgiven for my sense of deja vu. 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 said I didn’t have the right school ties. And I didn’t quit when people in my community said that I should not marry the love of my life.

I cared deeply about public service and giving back to this country that has given me so much. That is why when I got the call from my right honourable friend the prime minister just over a year ago, I didn’t hesitate to serve again. It was a critical time for our country. Tough decisions needed to be made about when we were going to have a lockdown, about supporting the National Health Service and the care sector under unprecedented strain.

It’s been an absolute privilege of my life to have been trusted with these responsibilities. And I can only hope that my best has been good enough. It has undoubtedly been one of the toughest roles that I’ve had so far.

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The gravity of Home Office decisions, the scale of Treasury decisions. But nothing matters more than the the health of the British people, especially in the wake of a pandemic. Caring for people’s health and wellbeing is truly a noble vocation. So I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of those across the country working in the health and care sectors, as well as those that have worked so closely with in my old department, the DHSC and in the NHS.

There’s so much that I planned for the long term reform of our health and care systems. And it is a wrench to leave that important work.

Now, when I last gave a personal statement from this seat, I spoke about the importance of institutions and conventions. Today, it is about the importance of integrity. And don’t worry, there’s not going to be a series of these. Institutions and integrity are both central pillars that underpin our great democracy. It doesn’t matter what your political perspective is, in this House. I believe that we are all motivated by the national interest and that the public expects us, all all of us, to maintain honesty and to maintain integrity in whatever we do.

This is not an abstract matter. We’ve seen in great democracies what happens when divisions are entrenched and not bridged. We cannot allow that to happen here. We must bring the country together as one nation. Effective governance inevitably requires loyalty and collective responsibility. Of course it does.

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And I’m instinctively a team player. And I have completely focused on governing effectively over the last year. But treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months. And Mr Speaker, I will never risk losing my integrity.

I also believe a team is only as good as a team captain. And that 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.

Sajid Javid delivers a personal statement to the House of CommonsSajid Javid delivers a personal statement to the House of Commons
Sajid Javid delivers a personal statement to the House of Commons | PA

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 their doorsteps in recent elections, and it’s not fair on Conservative members and voters who rightly expect better standards from the party they supported.

When the first stories of parties in Downing Street emerge 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 have been no parties in Downing Street and no rules were broken.

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So I gave the benefit of doubt. And I went on those media rounds to say that I had those assurances from the most senior level of the Prime Minister’s team. Then we had more stories. We had the Sue Grey report, a new Downing Street team. I continued to give the benefit of the doubt.

And now this week again, we have reason to question the truth and integrity of what we’ve all been told. And at some point, we have to conclude that enough is enough. I believe that point is now.

I welcome the Prime Minister’s public knowledge one last night that matters could have been handled better in who he appointed and what was said about what he knew when.

And I appreciated his kind and humble words and his humble spirit when I went to see him yesterday, and also the kind letter that he has sent to me.

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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 or off before you realise that something is fundamentally wrong.

Last month, I gave the benefit of doubt one last time, but I have concluded that the problem starts at the top. 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, I can see they have decided to remain in the cabinet. They will have their own reasons. 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.

I am deeply concerned about how the next generation will see the Conservative Party on our current course. Our reputation after 12 years in government depends on regaining the public’s trust. This is not just a personal matter. The philosophy and perception of Conservatives depends on it.

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It is central to the Conservative ideal that we believe in decency, in personal responsibility, and in social justice enabled by conventions and the rule of law. The Conservative mission to extend freedom and prosperity and opportunity is all at risk, if we cannot uphold that ideal.

And Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is not the only great institution in need of urgent repair. Like everyone in this House. I’ve been dismayed by the drip drip of stories of harassment and worse by members of this House. So I’m also concerned about how the next generation will see this House and the health of our democracy.

In recent years, trust in all roles has been undermined through a series of scandals. But the one thing we can control is our own values and behaviours.

So it is incumbent on all of us to set high standards for ourselves and to take action when they are not met by others. Mr Speaker, I’m grateful for the message that I’ve had for many members of this House and beyond.

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