UK Politics

Who is Sajid Javid, the new home secretary?

Sajid Javid and Theresa May Image copyright PA

Sajid Javid has been named as the new home secretary, in charge of the UK's immigration, security and counter-terrorism efforts. It has been a quite a rise.

The 48-year-old father of four has got his place in one of the key offices of state as part of the fallout from the Windrush revelations, and it will be his job to sort it out now.

One advantage he should have is that, as he told the Sunday Telegraph: "It immediately impacted me. I'm a second-generation migrant, my parents came to this country from Pakistan, just like the Windrush generation, obviously a different part of the world, from South Asia not the Caribbean, but other than that, similar in almost every way."

For those who haven't been following the story, the row has been about people who moved to the UK legally from the Commonwealth before 1973 being treated as illegal immigrants now if they had not elected to get a British passport in the past or were unable to provide a wide variety of documentary evidence that they had lived in the UK ever since.

Mr Javid, who is the first home secretary from an ethnic minority, told the newspaper: "When I heard about the Windrush issue, I thought that could be my mum, it could be my dad, it could be my uncle, it could be me."

The MP for Bromsgrove since 2010 was born in Rochdale, one of five sons of parents who had moved to the UK from Pakistan.

Mr Javid told the Evening Standard in 2012: "My dad was from a tiny village in Pakistan and came here when he was 17 to look for work.

"He settled in Rochdale and became a cotton-mill worker for Courtaulds. But he was quite ambitious, and saw that bus drivers were better paid. His nickname was Mr Night and Day because he used to work every hour God sent his way."

Mr Javid's father's job was the same as the dad of another high-profile politician, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and he congratulated the Labour politician "from one son of a Pakistani bus driver to another" after his City Hall victory in 2016.

Mr Javid spent his school years in Bristol after his parents took over a ladieswear shop there, with the family living in a two bed flat above it.

He told the Daily Mail in 2014 that the school was tough and "I was naughty, more interested in watching Grange Hill than homework."

But, he said, things changed when his dad read the riot act. "He said 'this is what I went through, don't let me down'. I felt really bad. My academic work rocketed."

He said that his school did not want to pay for him to do maths O-Level - his dad ended paying for it instead.

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Image caption Sajid Javid (third from left) with the 2014 Budget team

He had also developed an interest in financial markets, sparked by the Thatcher government's privatisations. At the age of 14 he went to see his father's bank manager and arranged to borrow £500 to invest in shares, becoming a regular reader of the Financial Times.

His goal became to work in the City so he passed that maths O-Level and, rejecting his school's suggestion he become a TV repair man, headed off to sixth form college and then to Exeter University to study economics and politics - giving a clear hint of his future career direction.

He also met his future wife, Laura, while doing a summer job at Commercial Union. They sat opposite each other and shared a stapler, he told the Daily Mail.

Their four children are privately educated: "We do what's best for them," Mr Javid, who has described himself as a non-practising Muslim, told the newspaper.

After university, he set his sights on a job in the City. As he told the Standard: "Some people, in a friendly way, tried to lower my expectations.

"They often tell you that unless you wear an old school tie or have the family contacts, you just won't get a chance to work in the City. But they were wrong."

His career move worked out well, although he had to move across the Atlantic to succeed. And by the age of 25, he had become a vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank, later moving to Singapore for a period with Deutsche Bank. He rose to become a managing director before leaving in the summer of 2009 to concentrate on a political career.

A Conservative Party supporter from the early-1980s he had attended his first conference towards the end of the Thatcher years, with Conservative friends from university such as fellow Tory MP Robert Halfon.

They got into a bit of trouble at the 1990 conference, handing out leaflets against the then prime minister's decision to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism, opposing the policy despite being diehard fans of Mrs Thatcher's.

According to a ConservativeHome profile, Javid, Halfon, another future Tory MP David Burrowes and Tim Montgomerie - founder of ConservativeHome - got up at 7am so they could get front row seats for what turned out to be Mrs Thatcher's final party conference speech.

Two decades on and, in 2010, he was elected for the first time, and has since made swift progress.

He began his ministerial career with roles in the Treasury, before becoming the first cabinet minister of Asian descent when he was appointed culture, media and sport secretary in 2014.

He did that for a year before moving to business secretary for a year and then moving on to be communities and local government secretary.

Long thought of as a Eurosceptic, it was a surprise to many when Mr Javid came out for Remain during the UK's 2016 referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union.

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Media captionSajid Javid on his plans for the Home Office

That meant, of course, that like then Home Secretary now Prime Minister Theresa May and his one-time mentor, then Chancellor George Osborne, he was on the losing side.

There was an ill-fated and very short-lived bid to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader after the referendum, on a "joint ticket" with Stephen Crabb. (He would have been chancellor to Mr Crabb's prime minister.)

In his cabinet roles so far he has, as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg put it, avoided major calamity, although he faced questions as business secretary over Tata steel, and as communities secretary over the response to the Grenfell disaster.

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Image caption Mr Javid talking to Tata Steel workers in 2016

He has also not been afraid to ruffle feathers, with uncompromising messages to some in the business community and local government.

And, according to James Forsyth, political editor of the Spectator magazine, Mr Javid has not been afraid to clash with Mrs May.

But he arrives at the Home Office having already expressed public anger about the Windrush fiasco, and the first item in his bulging in-tray will be sorting it out.