Who is Tory leadership contender Nadhim Zahawi?

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, following the resignation of senior cabinet minister Rishi Sunak Credit: PA Images

The newly-appointed Chancellor and Stratford-Upon-Avon MP, Nadhim Zahawi, has thrown his hat into the ring for Tory leader, joining his predecessor Rishi Sunak.

He is due to lay out his vision for the country in the coming days, as part of his leadership campaign.

Boris Johnson made Zahawi his new Chancellor, after Rishi Sunak resigned on Tuesday evening.

He had been serving as Education Secretary, and was previously responsible for the rollout of Covid vaccines across the UK.

We spoke to Mr Zahawi about why he took the role of Chancellor after Mr Sunak resigned, he said: "The important thing to remember is people are struggling with the cost of energy, with household bills, we have a global battle against inflation, not just on our shores and we have war on our continent.

"This is not the time to be a divided team, it's a time to focus on delivery. My focus is to rebuild the economy and grow the economy."

He continued: "I have huge respect for Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.

"My very strong view is that we need to unite and deliver.

"Yesterday the Prime Minister apologised and explain he made a mistake appointing Chris Pincher to the role of deputy chief, I think that's the right thing to do and good leadership."

Who is Nadhim Zahawi?

  • Nadhim Zahawi was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967. Under threat of persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime, his family immigrated to the UK when he was nine.

  • He studied Chemical Engineering at University College London.

  • In 2000, he founded YouGov, a leading market research company from a garden shed, it now employs over 400 people on three continents.

  • He was named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young in 2008.

  • Nadhim Zahawi is married to his wife Lana and has three children.

Zahawi has been appointed the new chancellor Credit: PA Images

What is Nadhim Zahawi's political background?

  • In 2010, he ran for election as Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon. He was elected to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which scrutinises the impact of government policy on business.  

  • In 2013, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Policy Board with special responsibility for business and the economy.

  • In June 2014, he was elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which examines the Government's foreign policy. He was re-elected to this select committee in 2015.

  • In November of 2015, Nadhim was appointed by David Cameron as the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Adviser.

  • In January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Nadhim Zahawi as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education.

  • In July 2019, he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry.

  • He was appointed Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment in November 2020.

  • In September 2021, he was appointed Secretary of State for Education.

Zahawi leaving No 10 Tuesday evening as the new chancellor Credit: PA Images

On Tuesday evening, Mr Zahawi was seen entering Number 10 and after an hour, he left as the new Chancellor.

There has been reports that he threatened to walk away if he didn't get the job.

When asked what was discussed in that time, he told ITV News: "I didn't threaten to quit, we spent that hour talking about how we are going to rebuild the economy.

"That was the discussion last night."

As the eduction secretary, Mr Zahawi was pushing for a pay rise for teachers, he said: "We made a promise we would raise the starting salary of teachers to £30,000.

"That is within my spending envelope and that's the right thing to do.

"But we must remember if we let inflation get out of control, it will harm the very same people we are trying to help, those who are struggling with their weekly shop, and that's what I must be focussed on."

His comments come after a number of cabinet members switched their jobs on Tuesday night.

A number of Parliamentary Private Secretaries also resigned, including Stoke-on-Trent MP Jonathan Gullis and Saqib Bhatti, for the Meriden constituency in the West Midlands.

The string of resignations come after a row over government handling of sexual misconduct allegations levelled at ex-Deputy Chief Whip and Tamworth MP Chris Pincher.