Nadhim Zahawi appointed Chancellor after Rishi Sunak resigns – as Steve Barclay replaces Sajid Javid as Health Secretary | Political news



Nadhim Zahawi has been named Boris Johnson’s new Chancellor after Rishi Sunak dramatically left the post.

He is stepping down as education secretary, a role that has now gone to former universities minister Michelle Donelan.

The resignations of Mr Sunak and fellow chief minister Sajid Javid left the prime minister to fight to stay in office amid questions about his line manipulation on MP Chris Pincher.

Steve Barclay was named to the role as Health Secretary, replacing Mr Javid.

He was previously Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Chief of Staff for Downing Street.

In his resignation letterMr Sunak said “the public rightly expects government to be run properly, competently and seriously”, adding: “I think these standards are worth upholding and that is why I resign”.

‘It’s all over’: Johnson fights for politics – live political updates

In the letter, posted on Twitter, the now former chancellor said he could no longer stay loyal to the prime minister, who remains mired in the scandal over Mr Pincher’s appointment as deputy chief whip.

Mr Pincher quit the job last week after claiming he groped two men at a private club and Mr Johnson was made aware of the allegations against him as early as 2019.

Mr Sunak, tipped as a potential future leader of the Conservative Party, told the Prime Minister he was stepping down with ‘great sadness’, saying: ‘Leaving the ministerial post is serious business at any time. For me to resign from my office as Chancellor as the world experiences the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision I have not taken lightly.

“However, the public rightly expects government to be run properly, competently and seriously. be defended and that is why I am resigning.”

The Prime Minister admitted he should have sacked Mr Pincher when it was found he had behaved inappropriately when he was Foreign Secretary in 2019, but instead continued to appoint him to d other government posts.

But the PM’s apology for appointing Mr. Pincher to this position could not prevent the departures of Mr. Sunak and Mr. Javid, which occurred within minutes of each other.

Mr Javid said the British people ‘expect integrity from their government’ but voters now believe Mr Johnson’s administration is neither competent nor ‘acting in the national interest’.

Who is Nadhim Zahawi?

Mr Zahawi was appointed Chancellor following Rishi Sunak’s dramatic resignation on Tuesday night.

After holding various junior ministerial posts, his success as vaccines minister saw him promoted to education secretary in Boris Johnson’s latest reshuffle.

At the age of nine, Mr Zahawi and his Iraqi Kurdish family fled Saddam Hussein for the UK and he has told how he was unable to read English at 11.

In a deeply personal speech in October last year, Mr Zahawi spoke of his own experiences of arriving in Britain as a child refugee and said the UK “welcomed a young Kurdish boy without a word of English and appointed him Cabinet Minister”.

“Now it’s my turn to ensure that the opportunities that have transformed my life are available to all children in every corner of our great country,” he said.

Responding to Mr Javid’s resignation, the Prime Minister told the former Health Secretary he was ‘sorry’ to receive his letter and suggested his government would ‘continue to implement’ NHS plans .

The double resignation of Mr Javid and Mr Sunak means Mr Johnson’s position remains perilous, but cabinet ministers including Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Michael Gove, Therese Coffey and Ben Wallace have indicated they would stay in government and still support the prime minister.

The loss of by-elections in Tiverton, Honiton and Wakefield in June triggered the resignation of party chairman Oliver Dowden last month.

The position of chairman of the Conservative Party remains vacant, as does that of vice-chairman of the party following the departure of Bim Afolami who resigned live on television on Tuesday evening.

The Prime Minister is also recruiting Downing Street’s fourth chief of staff in his term after appointing Mr Barclay as health secretary.

A total of nine people left government on Tuesday, including two ministers, four parliamentary private secretaries, a vice president and two trade envoys.

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As pressure mounts on Boris Johnson, can he retain the top job?

The Prime Minister’s fate could ultimately rest with backbench MPs if the 1922 Conservative committee rules are changed to allow another vote of confidence within 12 months.

Seven in 10 Britons say Boris Johnson should quit, according to a YouGov snapshot poll of more than 3,000 people.

The prime minister narrowly survived a vote of confidence last month but suffered a bigger rebellion than Theresa May.

Some 211 MPs voted for the prime minister, with 148 against – a majority of 63.

He needed a simple majority – 180 votes or more – to stay in power.

The result means 59% of Tory MPs backed Mr Johnson, with 41% voting against him.


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