Published on 9 Apr 2014 Sections ,

Who is Sajid Javid, high-flying ‘Muslim heir to Maggie’?

There are few MPs who can claim to have benefited from the expenses scandal but the new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is perhaps one of them.

Sajid Javid and a portrait of Margaret Thatcher

The high-flying MP – who has been tipped to one day lead the Conservative Party – became an MP at the start of the current government by replacing Julie Kirkbride, the Bromsgrove MP who stepped down in light of the expenses scandal.

Ms Kirkbride exited the political scene after reports that she and her husband had used taxpayers’ money to pay the mortgage on a second home.

Fast-forward four years and Mr Javid now finds himself in the cabinet, again due to a row over a female MP’s expenses. Ms Miller left the frontbench after it emerged she had over-claimed mortgage expenses.

Mr Javid brings some diversity to the Cabinet (see graphic, below) – which has previously been criticised for being dominated by white, privately educated men.

He is the state-educated son of an immigrant bus driver and was the first Conservative MP who is British Pakistani and from a Muslim background. His new title is Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and Equalities.

However, his promotion means David Cameron loses one of his female cabinet ministers – reducing the number to three (Theresa May, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers). Nicky Morgan, who has taken on Mr Javid’s former brief as Financial Secretary, will attend cabinet meetings in future in her capacity as Minister for Women.

Nan Sloane of the Centre for Women in Democracy commented: “Despite his pre-election pledge to make a third of his Ministerial list female, the Prime Minister is now running the country with a Cabinet that’s almost 90% male.

“The number of women in Cabinet is now at its lowest level since 1997, more than 15 years ago.

Until today Maria Miller, in addition to being Culture Secretary, also held the post of Minister for Women and Equalities. It appears the latter position has now been split between Sajid Javid and Nicky Morgan, with some suggesting this may be as a resulty of Ms Morgan’s opposition to gay marriage, which she voted against at the third reading of the bill to make it legal on 21 May 2013.

Heir to Thatcher

Mr Javid’s promotion may also be one that satisfies the Tory-right – who in growing numbers have shown dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party and have in some cases moved their support to increasingly popular Ukip.

Whilst little is currently known of Mr Javid’s opinions on culture (Channel 4 News is currently waiting to hear back from Mr Javid’s office about his cultural interests) – there is one painting he likes, a portrait of Margaret Thatcher he had hung in his Treasury office. Indeed, the Daily Mail called him “Margaret Thatcher’s Muslim heir”.

And Mr Javid’s voting record suggests he is at home in the right of his party.

According to TheyWorkForYou, Mr Javid has voted “very strongly in favour” of reducing welfare spending, of increasing tuition fees and of selling England’s state owned forests.

He has also voted against laws to stop climate change and against increasing the rate of tax applied to income over £150,000. His voting record rarely falters from the party line – as one would expect with a “high-flyer”.

Cathy Newman's blog: Destined for the top? Thatcherite Muslim with working class roots

Destined for the top? The Thatcherite Muslim with working class roots – See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/cathy-newman-blog/destined-top-thatcherite-muslim-working-class-roots/106#sthash.nT38xDvk.dpuf
Destined for the top? The Thatcherite Muslim with working class roots – See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/cathy-newman-blog/destined-top-thatcherite-muslim-working-class-roots/106#sthash.nT38xDvk.dpuf

His greater influence may also be welcomed by Tories supporters in business – he is a former banker who ran Deutsche Bank’s trading operations in Asia.

It is his background in banking that has seen him serve in the Treasury under George Obsorne during his time in government. However, it is also here that he was involved in a rare moment of controversy.

As a man replacing a woman in the cabinet, it may raise eyebrows that Mr Javid was criticised last month over comments suggesting that women did not “merit” serving on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The Treasury minister told MPs that the male-only committee, which oversees interest rates, “consists of individuals who are best-qualified to make the decisions necessary to achieve the government’s monetary policy objectives.”