Sajid Javid has used his resignation speech in the House of Commons to take a swipe at Dominic Cummings for the ultimatum that was issued by Boris Johnson over his special advisers.
The former chancellor told MPs: “A chancellor, like all cabinet ministers, has to be able to give candid advice to a prime minister so he is speaking truth to power.
“I believe that the arrangement proposed would significantly inhibit that and it would not have been in the national interest.
“So while I was grateful for the continued trust of the prime minister in wanting to reappoint me, I am afraid that these were conditions that I could not accept in good conscience.”
In an apparent reference to the rows with Cummings he said: “I don’t intend to dwell further on all the details and the personalities… the comings and goings if you will.”
He said much of the commentary on their relationship was “just gossip and distraction”.
With replacement Rishi Sunak being urged to turn on the spending taps in order to fund crowd-pleasing measures promised during the general election campaign, Javid called for restraint.
“We need a resolute focus on long-term outcomes and delivery, not short-term headlines.
“The Treasury as an institution, as an economic ministry should be the engine that drives this new agenda,” he said.
“But the Treasury must also be allowed to play its role as a finance ministry with the strength and credibility that it requires.”
Following Javid’s statement, the PM thanked Javid for his speech and “immense service” to the country, saying he had “friends and admirers on all sides of this House of Commons”.
Downing Street defended the decision to appoint a joint team of advisers to support the chancellor.
“The new unit will ensure that the Government works more effectively to deliver the prime minister and Chancellor’s shared ambition to level up the economy across the UK,” a Number 10 spokesman said.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted that Javid had launched a “damning attack” on Cummings’ “dominance” of the Johnson administration.
But he also claimed it was an “unashamed leadership bid” and added there would be “rough waters ahead for Sunak and Johnson”.