Sajid Javid says border arrangements could take ‘a couple of years’

Tory leadership hopeful Sajid Javid says alternative arrangements for the Irish border could be in place in a ‘couple of years’ and claims he could be the ‘outsider’ needed to ‘shake the party up’

  • Mr Javid said he’d cover the cost of new border technology to get Ireland on side
  • ‘The solution insists, we’ve done the homework,’ he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday
  • Mr Javid said he was outsider in both because of his race and his background 

Tory leadership hopeful Sajid Javid today predicted it could take just ‘a couple of years’ for alternative arrangements to be put in place on the Irish border as he suggested his status as an ‘outsider’ made him the best candidate for PM.

Mr Javid said he would offer to pay for the cost of technological solutions to prevent a hard border to convince the Irish government back the plan.

‘The solution insists, we’ve done the homework,’ he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday. ‘Most people would understand you need cooperation on both sides of the border for this to happen.’

Sajid Javid told Sophy Ridge on Sunday he would offer to pay for the cost of technological solutions to prevent a hard border to convince the Irish government back the plan

Many Tory MPs opposed Theresa May’s Brexit deal because it included the Irish backstop – which would involve Northern Ireland staying in some parts of the customs union and single market to prevent a return to a hard border.

Mr Javid insisted he could succeed where Mrs May had failed, despite warnings that no technological solution to the Irish border was available and Brussels’ refusal to put a time limit on the ‘insurance policy’ of the backstop.

‘You don’t need a magic solution for this, the solution exists. We’ve done the homework on this,’ the Home Secretary, who has ministerial responsibility for the UK’s borders, said.

‘I will change the dynamic and I will do that by offering the money to pay for the border.

‘It is justified that we do that because, economically, if that unlocks a deal we will have a mini economic boom in this country if we get a deal and that will pay for that.’

He said the policy of a Javid administration would be to leave the EU on October 31 and ‘if I have to choose between no deal and no Brexit, I would pick no deal’.

Mr Javid discussed his underprivileged upbringing, which he said made him the ‘outsider’ candidate. Pictured: Leadership rival Mr Johnson, who went to Eton and Oxford 

Mr Javid said he was an outsider in the party both because of his race and his background but ‘sometimes there’s a strong case to have an outsider to actually become a leader to shake things up’.

‘I think the country, not just the Conservative Party, is ready for leaders – including in politics and we have seen in other walks of life – from all sorts of backgrounds,’ he said.

Mr Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, has a background which is in stark contrast to rivals including Old Etonian Boris Johnson.

At school it was recommended that he should be a TV repairman.

‘I was told that I couldn’t study maths at O-level so I had to get my dad to pay for it.

‘I was told that I could only study two A-levels when I was told that you had to have three to go to university, so I had to change schools and go to a local college.

‘But these are struggles I don’t want other people to have.’

He added: ‘I think the country, not just the Conservative Party, is ready for leaders – including in politics and we have seen in other walks of life – from all sorts of backgrounds.’

He said he was an outsider in the party both because of his race and his background but ‘sometimes there’s a strong case to have an outsider to actually become a leader to shake things up’.

Mr Javid said the austerity programme set out by George Osborne and Philip Hammond (pictured with Mark Carney on June 8)  in Number 11 had been ‘the right policy for that time’ but more money was now needed for services.

Mr Javid also said he would break from the austerity of the last nine years by slowing the pace of debt reduction to fund a multibillion-pound spending spree.

He said the move would still involve debt coming down but could free up to £25 billion a year for spending priorities, including a funding boost for education.

‘I want to see a multi-year, multibillion-pound boost in investment and spending in schools, and really change the life chances of so many young people,’ he told Miss Ridge.

What do the candidates for the Tory leadership think about Brexit?

The Conservative leadership race is ramping up ahead of nominations opening on Monday as the contenders continue to declare their credentials for the top job.

Here are the runners and riders:

– Boris Johnson

The former foreign secretary, who played a key role in the Vote Leave campaign at the 2016 referendum, is widely seen as the front-runner.

On Brexit, he has committed to keeping the October 31 deadline even if that means leaving without a deal and said he would step up no-deal preparations.

He also said he would refuse to pay the promised £39 billion to the European Union unless better Brexit terms are on offer.

Key quote: ‘I truly believe only I can steer the country between the Scylla and Charybdis of Corbyn and Farage and on to calmer water.’

What he’s said about drugs: Confessed to trying cocaine and smoking cannabis as a teenager at Oxford in a magazine interview in 2007.

Backers: James Brokenshire, Gavin Williamson, Steve Baker.

– Jeremy Hunt

The Foreign Secretary has ruled nothing out on Brexit, but insists that his experience as a negotiator in both business and politics means he could go to Brussels and secure a better deal.

He has said he would keep a no-deal Brexit on the table, but warned it could be ‘political suicide’ for the Conservatives as Parliament would force a general election.

He has called for a big increase in defence spending after Britain leaves the EU to counter rising global threats and has suggested slashing corporation tax to Irish levels of 12.5% to attract investment.

Key quote: ‘We will absolutely be obliterated in an election if we haven’t delivered Brexit.’

What he’s said about drugs: Told The Times he had a ‘cannabis lassi’, a yoghurt-based drink, when he was backpacking through India in his youth.

Backers: Liam Fox, Greg Hands, Mark Field.

– Dominic Raab

The former Brexit secretary has set out an uncompromising approach in a bid to appeal to hardline Eurosceptics.

He wants Brussels to ditch the Irish backstop as part of a new agreement, but if the EU will not move on the issue, he will walk away without a deal on October 31 – and has not ruled out suspending Parliament to ensure that MPs cannot block the UK’s exit.

He also wants to toughen up community sentences and has promised a shake-up of maternity care.

Key quote: ‘We need to up our game, which means being less naive, and being absolutely resolute about our intention and our resolve to leave on October 31. It seems to me that I’m the only candidate in this race that is clear about that.’

What he’s said about drugs: Has admitted taking cannabis as a student.

Backers: David Davis, Nadhim Zahawi, Maria Miller.

– Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary, who scuppered Mr Johnson’s last leadership bid in 2016, is again positioning himself in opposition to the front-runner.

Unlike Mr Johnson, he has not ruled out seeking a further delay to Brexit – possibly for months beyond October 31 – if a deal is in reach, and warned pursuing a no-deal scenario could lead to a general election in which Jeremy Corbyn could enter Number 10.

He has set out a ‘pro-business economic plan’ to take on Mr Corbyn’s ‘Marxist message’ and said he would replace VAT after Brexit with a ‘lower, simpler’ sales tax.

Key quote: ‘If I am prime minister of this country I want to ensure it’s the best place in the world to live, learn, raise a family, achieve your potential, and start and run a business.’

What he’s said about drugs: Said he ‘deeply regrets’ taking cocaine ‘on several occasions’ two decades ago.

Backers: Mel Stride, Nicky Morgan, Ed Vaizey.

– Rory Stewart

The International Development Secretary has travelled around the country filming himself chatting to voters in a bid to raise his profile in the race.

A Remainer who now accepts the referendum vote, he has ruled out a no-deal Brexit and would establish a citizens’ assembly to thrash out a new Brexit compromise.

He has also pledged to protect the Conservatives’ ‘reputation for economic competence’, hitting out at the ‘unfunded spending commitments’ made by rivals.

Key quote: ‘Candidates that are advocating a no-deal Brexit as well as tax cuts will – in one afternoon in October – lose us a reputation that we have spent 300 years building up.’

What he’s said about drugs: Has apologised for smoking opium at a wedding in Iran.

Backers: David Gauke, Ken Clarke, Nicholas Soames.

– Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary hopes to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement to remove the Irish backstop but does not want a delay beyond October 31.

He has set out a plan to tackle the Irish border issue by spending hundreds of millions on a technological solution, saying the UK has a moral duty to pay for measures at the border in an effort to secure a breakthrough.

Mr Javid has put forward a number of policy proposals, including cutting the top rate of income tax and establishing a £100 billion fund to invest in the UK’s infrastructure.

Key quote: ‘We will not beat the Brexit Party by becoming the Brexit Party.’

What he’s said about drugs: Has denied ever taking drugs.

Backers: Ruth Davidson, Jeremy Wright, Chris Skidmore.

– Matt Hancock

The Health Secretary insists a no-deal Brexit is not a credible option and Parliament would never allow it.

He has set out a Brexit delivery plan to leave by October 31, including establishing an Irish border council, made up of UK and Irish officials, to prevent the return of a hard border and time-limiting the backstop.

He has also pledged to scrap business rates for small retailers and increase a tax on internet companies to ‘level the playing field’ for high streets, and has set out his vision for a foreign policy that boosts trade and ‘resists protectionism’, while also promising to ‘uphold our values’.

Key quote: ‘If in order to deliver Brexit we were to change who we are as a country we would have failed.’

What he’s said about drugs: Is understood to have tried cannabis as a student but has not used drugs since university.

Backers: Damian Green, Tracey Crouch, Caroline Spelman.

– Andrea Leadsom

The former leader of the Commons, who ran against Mrs May for the party leadership in 2016, was another prominent member of the Vote Leave campaign.

She has set out a plan to scrap the Withdrawal Agreement and instead ‘massively ramp up’ preparations for a ‘managed’ exit without a full deal.

Mrs Leadsom has also promised to tackle climate change at home and abroad and establish a cross-party commission to find a solution to funding social care, and has warned that bold tax-cutting pledges could easily be blocked by Parliament.

Key quote: ‘I truly believe in the bright future that awaits us once we leave the EU. And I think I have the best plan that I’ve seen for delivering a managed exit.’

What she’s said about drugs: Told the Independent that she ‘smoked weed at university and have never smoked it again since’.

Backers: Chris Heaton-Harris, Heather Wheeler, Derek Thomas

– Sam Gyimah

As the only contender open to a second referendum, the former universities minister is widely seen as a rank outsider.

His five-point plan would give MPs a ‘final chance’ to get a Brexit deal through Parliament while also preparing for a referendum if that failed.

The public would be offered a binding choice between a no-deal Brexit, a revised deal or remaining in the EU.

Key quote: ‘The world won’t wait for Westminster, no matter how loudly we shout, and no matter how damaging a prolonged Brexit process is for Britain.’

What he’s said about drugs: Has denied taking any drugs.

Backers: Dominic Grieve, Guto Bebb, Phillip Lee

– Esther McVey

The committed Brexiteer has said she would fill her Cabinet with fellow believers.

She has called for the Tories to ’embrace’ a no-deal Brexit in order to make sure the UK leaves on October 31.

Elsewhere, she has caused controversy with comments championing the right of parents to take their children out of lessons on same-sex relationships.

Key quote: ‘I think you need to have people who believe in Brexit to deliver this by October 31.’

What she’s said about drugs: A spokesman told The Telegraph she ‘has never taken cocaine and never would’.

Backers: Pauline Latham, Phillip Davies, Andrew Lewer

– Mark Harper

A former Conservative chief whip and Remain supporter who now accepts the referendum result, Mr Harper acknowledges he is an underdog in the leadership race.

He has called for a ‘short, focused’ extension to allow for the deal to be renegotiated but said he would be prepared to leave with no deal if that is not possible.

He has claimed sticking to an undeliverable October 31 exit date could risk making Nigel Farage even stronger.

Key quote: ‘I know what people want to hear but I am not going to tell people what they want to hear if I don’t think it is credible.’

What he’s said about drugs: Has denied taking any drugs.

Backers: William Wragg, Jackie Doyle-Price, Scott Mann.


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