By Michael Settle

SAJID Javid insisted he had “no option” but to resign after Boris Johnson mounted a naked power-grab on the Treasury just a month before Budget day.

The Chancellor was faced with an ultimatum to accept the sacking of all of his advisers as the Prime Minister forms a new “economic unit” between No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.

Mr Javid’s shock departure is being seen within Whitehall and Westminster as a Machiavellian move to oust him, masterminded by Dominic Cummings, the PM’s chief strategist in No 10.

Last week, it was suggested Mr Cummings said after he left a meeting of special advisers: “See half of you next week.”

The former head of the Vote Leave campaign had been in a power struggle for months with

Mr Javid, whom he had supposedly dubbed “Chino” – Chancellor in name only.

The swiftness of Mr Javid’s replacement by his deputy Rishi Sunak suggested his departure had been carefully planned.

As he left his Treasury job after just seven months, the former Chancellor took a swipe at his successor, saying the demands imposed by Mr Johnson would not be acceptable to any “self-respecting minister”.

In his resignation letter, Mr Javid explained that he could not accept the PM’s conditions stressing: “I believe it is important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with.”

And, notwithstanding the PM’s power-grab, he urged Mr Johnson to “ensure the Treasury as an institution retains as much credibility as possible”.

Commenting on the resignation, Labour’s John McDonnell said: “This must be a historical record with the Government in crisis after just over two months in power. Dominic Cummings has clearly won the battle to take absolute control of the Treasury and install his stooge as Chancellor.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said: “Boris Johnson has lost control. Rather than prioritising the interests of people across the country, he is embroiled in an ego battle between his de-facto deputy Dominic Cummings and his former Cabinet ministers.”

Ed Davey for the Liberal Democrats declared: “Boris Johnson’s reshuffle is in tatters.”

He added: “Like every crisis at No 10 you can see Dominic Cummings lurking in the background. This is the Conservatives’ own unelected bureaucrat, unaccountable to the public, attempting to control every part of Government.”

The PM’s spokesman said Mr Johnson thanked Mr Javid for the work he had doneat the Treasury, which included a tax cut for 31 million taxpayers, the biggest cash increase for the National Living Wage and advancing the levelling up agenda through investment in the NHS, infrastructure and schools.

He said Mr Sunak would take forward preparations for the Budget as Chancellor. But asked if the Budget would still be on March 11, he replied: “Extensive preparations have already been carried out for the Budget and they will continue at pace.” Asked if that was a yes, he repeated his answer.

Mr Javid’s departure came after several ministers were axed, the most controversial of which was the dismissal of Julian Smith as Northern Ireland Secretary. This caused much dismay to politicians on either side of the Irish border given Mr Smith’s role in reviving Stormont. He was replaced by Security Minister Brandon Lewis.

In another key appointment Alok Sharma moved from International Development to replace Andrea Leadsom as Business Secretary. He will also take on the key role as Minister for the COP26 green summit in Glasgow this November.

Today, Mr Johnson will take the usual photocall with his new-look Cabinet as he appoints junior and middle-ranking ministers.