Posted on April 14, 2014

Sajid Javid: The Millionaire Bus Conductor’s Son with a Portrait of Margaret Thatcher on His Wall

Christopher Hope et al., Telegraph (London), April 9, 2014

Sajid Javid has became the first Asian man to be given a Cabinet post after Maria Miller was forced to resign following the furore over her expenses claims.

Mr Javid, 44, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, was promoted by David Cameron after Mrs Miller resigned following days of intense pressure from Conservative MPs.

The MP for Bromsgrove, a former managing director in the City, has long been tipped as a rising star in the Conservative Party and had served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury since last October.

His promotion to Culture Secretary crowns a remarkable ascent to the top of the Government by Mr Javid, who only entered Parliament in 2010.

Mr Javid sacrificed a huge amount financially to become an MP. He became an MP on just £65,000 a year after running Deutsche Bank’s trading operations in Asia, where he is reported by Bloomberg to have earned around £3 million a year.

Mr Javid was picked out as a Parliamentary high flier from early on, becoming a Parliamentary aide to the Chancellor George Osborne in 2011.

He was made economic secretary to the Treasury in 2012, and promoted to the more senior role of financial secretary in the same department in the following year.

Mr Javid has described his heritage but does not practise any religion. He is married to Laura, a practising Christian, and the pair have four children.

He draws much of his drive from his family’s humble roots. In a pamphlet published this week, Mr Javid spoke with pride of how his father Abdul Ghani had arrived at Heathrow airport in 1961 “with a £1 note in his pocket”.

He explained that his grandfather had “touchingly but mistakenly” thought that the £1 note would see him through his first month in the UK.

Abdul Ghani Javid found work in a cotton mill in Rochdale, and then as a bus conductor and a driver, when he was nicknamed “Mr Night and day” by colleagues.

After that he started to sell clothes made by his mother Zabeida on a market stall before opening a shop in Bristol.

Sajid, one of five boys, was brought up in Bristol and turned down apprenticeships and instead studied Economics and Politics at Exeter University, the first member of his family to go to university.

He said: “This is the root of my conservative beliefs. My mother and father had nothing and, like many people in their adopted country, worked their way up.

“All they had to rely on was their drive and determination, a willingness to work hard, and the confidence to take risks in the hope of greater rewards.

“There were, of course, ups and downs. But whenever my parents were knocked down, in business or anything else, they picked themselves up and started again. The abiding lesson was clear to me: don’t doubt yourself and don’t stop trying.”

Speaking from her modest new-build home in Bristol on Wednesday, Mr Javid’s mother Zubaid, 66, said she was “very proud” of her son.

She said: “Life was good when we came here. It was nice. Everybody was very nice. My husband he came with just £1. He had to work very hard. My son I think gets his hard working from that.

“My husband died two years ago. He would be very proud. He liked reading English news all the time. He liked living here.”

Mr Javid’s job as Culture Secretary will require a wide appreciation of British cultural life, but in an interview after being elected in 2010 he listed his reading material of choice as the Economist magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the financial news wire.

His favourite film is the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and his favourite music is the Irish rock band U2. Last weekend he saw the award winning play War Horse with his daughter.

In office, Mr Javid has becomingly increasing confident, notably last autumn criticising the dominance of the Cabinet by privately-educated politicians.

He is a member of the Free Enterprise Group which last year called for his new department to be scrapped, and in 2011 he described ticket touts as “entrepreneurs”.

His political inspiration is Margaret Thatcher. On his second promotion in the Treasury last year he rejected works of art from the Government art collection and chose instead to personalise his office with a portrait of Baroness Thatcher.

No wonder that bookmakers have him on short odds to succeed David Cameron as leader of the party–and a potential next Prime Minister.