As announcements of his new cabinet appointments trickled out this morning, it seems David Cameron has resisted making radical changes to most of his frontbench team. But one post he did need to fill was that of business secretary, a role left vacant by outgoing MP Vince Cable, who lost his Twickenham seat after the Liberal Democrats imploded in Thursday’s election.
City workers will be pleased to see he’s been replaced by Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, the former investment banker who has been culture secretary since the less-than-graceful demise of Maria Miller last year. His new role is likely to be a better fit than his last – Javid’s interest in the arts was never exactly apparent.
Given his former roles at Deutsche Bank and Chase Manhattan, he’s unlikely to be as vocally critical as his predecessor was of certain elements of Britain’s financial services sector, but small businesses and campaign groups will be hoping he’s just as keen on promoting entrepreneurship and manufacturing. A former treasury minister, Javid has spoken up in favour of support for crowdfunding, which is surely a good sign.
The son of a Pakistani bus driver, Javid was first elected to parliament in 2010 and is hotly tipped as a future Prime Minister. He’s unusual among Tory top brass for having attended an FE college – something that will come in handy given his new department’s responsibility for apprenticeships and national diplomas.
In other political news the Labour peer and Apprentice star Lord (Alan) Sugar has announced he has quit the party that gave him his seat in the House of Lords. Sugar, who was appointed ‘Enterprise Champion’ by then-PM Gordon Brown, said he had found himself ‘losing confidence in the party due to their negative business policies and general anti-enterprise concepts they were considering.’
Sugar said he waited until after the election to make the announcement, ‘rather than use my decision to possibly damage the party’s chance in the election.’ It’s hard to imagine the party could have performed much worse though. He didn’t say whether or not he would be joining another party but confirmed he will retain his peerage.