Sajid Javid says he wrestled with his conscience for months from inside Boris Johnson’s Government, but decided to resign as health secretary on Tuesday morning at a parliamentary prayer breakfast.
Announcing his intention to run for the Tory leadership alongside a host of other contenders, Mr Javid said it was only last weekend that he started to lose confidence in the Prime Minister.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid said: “I kept trying to convince myself why I did but I just couldn’t do it. Even then, on Sunday, I hadn’t quite decided to resign.
“I was thinking maybe I just owe the Prime Minister, one more time, the benefit of doubt.”
As the controversy over how Mr Johnson dealt with the Chris Pincher scandal was unfolding on Tuesday morning, Mr Javid said he attended a parliamentary prayer breakfast with MPs and the Prime Minister which “made me reflect”.
“I made my decision then, sitting there listening to his sermon, and I just thought it’s about integrity, it’s about a duty. If you haven’t got confidence in the boss, you owe it to yourself and the country to tell the boss nicely that you can’t serve and that was it.”
In his policy pitch, Mr Javid said he would scrap the Government’s controversial national insurance hike, bring forward the planned 1p income tax cut to next year, and introduce a further “significant” temporary reduction on fuel duty.
As health secretary, Mr Javid had backed the hike and said it would help fund the recovery of the under-pressure and backlogged NHS.
“At the time I was the health secretary, I wasn’t the chancellor. It wasn’t my job to work out exactly how to pay for that,” he said.
“It was my job to set out what the health and social care reforms are going to require, and make sure that cost is the lowest it can possibly be for what we want to deliver.”
Like Jeremy Hunt, who also launched his bid in an interview with the paper, Mr Javid pledged to slash corporation tax. Mr Hunt and Mr Javid said they would not only scrap the former chancellor’s plans to raise corporation tax from 19% to 25% in April, but reduce the rate to 15%.
It was my job to set out what the health and social care reforms are going to require, and make sure that cost is the lowest it can possibly be for what we want to deliverSajid Javid
The leadership contenders’ timescales for the change are different, with Mr Hunt slashing the tax to 15p in his first autumn Budget, while Mr Javid would set a “glide path”.
Nadhim Zahawi, Grant Shapps, Rishi Sunak, Attorney General Suella Braverman, ex-minister Kemi Badenoch, trade minister Penny Mordaunt and senior Tory Tom Tugendhat have all also launched bids for the country’s top job.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is also widely expected to stand.