27 Nov 2013

Destined for the top? The Thatcherite Muslim with working class roots

It’s somewhat ironic that as David Cameron talks tough on immigration, party right-wingers are talking up the chances of a son of immigrants becoming the first Muslim leader of the Conservatives.

Since he was promoted to financial secretary to the Treasury last month, the odds of Sajid Javid ascending to the top job have shortened. He’s now seen as a shoo-in for the cabinet in a spring reshuffle, and from there the world’s his oyster.

Day 2: 9th World Islamic Economic Forum, Panel Discussions

And despite today’s hoo-ha over immigration, it’s Mr Javid’s background which so appeals to many Tories.

The Cameron husky-hugging modernisation may have died a death, but Mr Javid’s Thatcherite beliefs and his cosmopolitan background might manage to please both right and left.

His bus driver dad moved from Pakistan to Rochdale and then Bristol. Mr Javid then went on to run Deutsche Bank’s trading operations in Asia before becoming an MP in 2010.

While his down-to-earth origins mean he’s being seen by allies as the perfect answer to the millionaires and Bullingdon boys at the top of the Tory party, his political views are if anything to the right of Mr Cameron.

In a recent Bloomberg interview he revealed that he put up a portrait of Baroness Thatcher in his new Treasury office.

That’s about as outspoken as he gets, though. One of the reasons the head honchos like him is that he toes the party line, calmly batting off the googlies, as I know to my cost!

Of course, if Mr Cameron fails to win a majority at the election and has to step down, there will be no shortage of pretenders to the crown.

But it’s not impossible that when the time comes, Mr Javid’s mentor George Osborne ends up finding himself overtaken by his protegee.

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