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Saj the Sage
Leadership battle, Issue 1497
sajid-javid.jpg
Home secretary Sajid Javid has joined the Conservative leadership race
THE collapse into administration of British Steel doesn’t say much for the credentials of prime ministerial hopeful and current home secretary Sajid Javid.

As business secretary in the early summer of 2016 it was Javid who approved the sale of what was then Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe “long product” operation to Greybull Capital, through an opaque offshore holding structure. This was despite the firm’s track record of extracting cash from other companies that then failed: My Local convenience stores, Riley sports bars and Comet electrical shops (which lawyers for redundant employees called “an old-fashioned corporate raid”).

Export orders have dried up
Greybull snaffled the Scunthorpe works just a couple of weeks before the EU referendum, by when Brexit was looking a distinct possibility and the UK steel industry body was warning of the dangers of leaving. So it has proved, as export orders have dried up because of tariff fears and with Greybull refusing to stump up any more funds (while still finding cash for a French steel plant). ?A prudent business sec might have asked whether Greybull really was the right owner for the turbulent times ahead.

Flew to Australia
But then former investment banker Javid’s eye was hardly on the ball three years ago. As Tata Steel’s board considered what to do with its struggling British steel industry in spring 2016 and just ahead of its critical board meeting, ?Javid flew to Australia with his daughter – prompting calls from Port Talbot MP Stephen Kinnock for him to resign. ?

When Greybull emerged to bid for the Scunthorpe operation and spare Javid’s blushes, he hailed the move as showing “there really is a viable, sustainable ?future for world-class steelmaking in this country”.

More top stories in the latest issue:

TREASURE ISLAND
Ben Leadsom, husband of Andrea, is one of the winners from the Brexit-era financial turmoil.

SPARE A COPPER
As pro-European business donors dry up and moneybags Brexiteers defect, the Tories are feeling the pinch.

POST OFFICE WOES
A high court judge orders the Post Office to pay £5.5m in costs to 550 sub-postmasters , with bigger bills to come.

FISHY FEARS
The UK and US suffered a humiliating defeat over the Chagos Islands, but the exiled islanders fear the vote was more about fishing rights than human rights.

FARAGE DISPARAGED
European parliament stenographers add a note of disdain to their transcript.

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Private Eye Issue 1496