This week, only Nadim Zahwi rode a political roller coaster comparable to the one that kicked Boris Johnson out of Downing Street. On Monday, he was the Secretary of Education in the United Kingdom — his first cabinet post. By Tuesday, he was promoted to prime minister. On Wednesday, he was planning a tax cut with the Prime Minister. And by Thursday, he played a central role in ending Johnson’s premiereship.
The promotion of the 55-year-old to the second most powerful role in British politics is the latest step in a rapid rise in which his allies expect him to become Britain’s first non-white prime minister. But some senior Conservatives believe his rapid turnaround to Johnson will backfire.
Zahawi was born in Baghdad in 1967 to a Kurdish family who fled to England at the age of nine. His teacher was initially afraid that he was suffering from learning disabilities, as the future Secretary of Education could not speak English at all upon arrival. He was educated in both state and private schools before earning a degree in chemical engineering from the University of London.
After graduating, Zahawi started the business, but the results were sometimes mixed. One of his less successful early ventures was Teletubbies Children’s TV show. He was also an aide to Sir Jeffrey Archer, a former Tory member and novelist.
Zahawi began his political career as a local council member in the prosperous London borough of Wandsworth. The country’s ambitions he had sat in the backseat while he was focused on the business. In 2000, he founded YouGov, one of the first polling companies focused on online research. But he’s also frowned upon in other roles, such as earning £ 1.3 million as a consultant for the Gulf Keystone Petroleum.It was report This week, Zahawi was investigated by the National Crime Agency and found no fraud.
In 2010, Zahawi was elected a safe Tory seat in Stratford-upon-Avon. Unlike many ambitious Tories elected when the party returned to power under David Cameron, his ministerial career did not take off. “He was clearly very talented, but didn’t get David’s attention,” said one number 10 official who worked with him.
However, supporting Brexit in the 2016 referendum has definitely increased his position within the party. A series of vice minister appointments continued. However, it was Johnson’s sponsorship that brought Zahawi into the limelight as the vaccine served as minister in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. He was praised by MPs for his modest media performance amid widespread fears of shortage.
He was also endorsed by Whitehall civil servants. One Mandarin who worked with him during the pandemic says his keen focus on data was welcomed. “As Secretary of State, he was constantly asking,’What is the evidence? What is the evidence?’ During the deployment of the vaccine,” officials recall. “Many other ministers simply do things instinctively.”
Since being promoted to the Cabinet as Minister of Education last September, Zahawi has been marked as a successor to Johnson. Like rivals such as Foreign Minister Liz Truss and former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he has deceived parliamentarians and has been preparing for the resignation of the Prime Minister for months.
He also does fitness kicks with leadership races in mind. “He’s literally running,” laughed a member of parliament. When he had dinner, he started to eat half.
Zahawi’s campaign focuses on three elements, according to relevant authorities. His business hinterland. And his government record. “Many of his rivals have no business experience before politics, and other rivals do not have the same level of delivery or government experience,” said one MP who supports him.
But his role in Johnson’s downfall could determine if he would be in 10th place. Zahawi was one of the few credible candidates for the job when Snack resigned as Prime Minister on Tuesday. Some of his supporters were disappointed when he accepted. “We always knew he was a good person, but his political judgment was poor,” says one friend. But others felt he had few choices. “We need to fill these positions … He would have tried to continue the performance on the street.”
The day after he arrived at the Treasury, Zahawi was part of a delegation of ministers who told him to go to the Prime Minister. In his open letter, he wrote that his 30-year-old friend had “broken heart” that he did not listen to his advice. “Prime Minister, you know what is right in your heart, and go now.” Johnson tolerated a few hours later. “It was Nadim’s words that ultimately supported Boris,” says one ally of his role in regicide.
His profile in Westminster has risen significantly lately, but Zahawi’s trans-world fame is limited. Bookmaker Ladbrokes has a 12/1 chance of becoming the next prime minister, lagging behind five other candidates, including Sunak and Truss. His challenge is to convince MPs that he can build national supporters.
However, Zahawi is highly favored among Tory activists who ultimately choose the next leader and prime minister.He is the second most popular person at the party +66 net approval rateOnly behind Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who chose not to stand. Paul Goodman, Editor of Conservative Home, said: “He has a record of success in business and a record of success in government in providing vaccine programs.”
Goodman states that the imminent leadership race is a “lottery ticket,” but adds that “standing in front of members can be successful.” Whether that happens depends initially on the votes of fellow Tory lawmakers who are already familiar with his background and government records. They decide whether Zahawi can help rebuild the party after the turmoil of the Johnson era.