It’s a bad morning to be Nadhim Zahawi. On Question Time last night, his predecessor as Conservative Party Chairman, Jake Berry, publicly called for him to stand aside. After prefacing his comments with “I know Nadhim Zahawi very well, I’d consider him a friend”, Jake didn’t waste any time in throwing his mate under a bus:
“The government needs to find a mechanism for ministers and MPs who are under investigation in this way to step aside, to clear their name, and then to come back into government if that is appropriate. I think for Nadhim, great individual that he is, that would be the right thing to do now”
Berry insisted this was a long-term and consistent position, which he reinforced by confirming his view that Dominic Raab should also stand down. This just days after semi-detached-Tory Caroline Nokes publicly called for the same. With friends like these…
The morning papers would hardly have provided any relief for Zahawi. The Guardian splashes with calls for an inquiry into an unsecured £30 million loan for his wife’s company, whilst Bloomberg reports how Nadhim triggered a government security alert on a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. This all comes as The Times details how the Prime Minister’s ethics adviser has been given access to the Zahawi’s complete tax settlement. Watch this space.
Over the weekend, former Tory chair Jake Berry voiced anger from his members at the sacking of Boris. In an interview with The Telegraph, Berry calls the move to defenestrate Boris “insanity”, warning that the party members are “furious”. Given this, they will be even more upset to learn that Boris, in fact, easily cleared the 102 MP threshold after Liz Truss resigned.
We previously reported Boris had squeaked past the requisite backer threshold – to much scepticism from Boris detractors in the media. It now emerges he in fact had 110 – just 47 behind what Rishi had when he pulled out. Speaking on Westminster Hour last night:
“His team asked us to verify that, he had – I think – 110.”
Guido asked a source close to Boris whether this latest figure from Brady was correct, and was told it was. If, as the polls currently show, the Tories lose the next election, the leadership of the opposition will be his for the taking…
Tim Loughton has fired back after Jake Berry made headlines on TalkTV last night over Suella Braverman’s re-appointment as Home Secretary. Berry claimed Braverman in fact broke the ministerial code multiple times during her first stint as Home Secretary, including the final one that saw her resign “relating to cybersecurity.”
“From my own knowledge, there were multiple breaches of the ministerial code.
“It was sent from a private email address to another member of parliament. She then sought to copy in that individual’s wife and accidentally sent it to a staffer in parliament. To me that seems a really serious breach, especially when it was documents relating to cybersecurity, as I believe.
“The cabinet secretary had his say at the time. I doubt he’s changed his mind in the last six days but that’s a matter for the prime minister.”
Of course, this claim raises the question of why Liz didn’t ask Suella to resign after the first incident. A point raised by Tory MP Tim Loughton on TimesRadio this morning:
“I haven’t a clue what Jake Barry is referring to, I find it rather odd that he’s come out with this now, the day after he’s been sacked as party chairman. The Prime Minister has signalled his confidence in Suella Braverman and that she held her hands up to the mistake that she’d made. I’m happy to trust the Prime Minister’s judgement. If further investigation needs to be happening, then I’m sure the Prime Minister will sanction that.”
Guido wonders which News UK outlet Sir Jake will choose to return fire from…
Tory party Chair Jake Berry has just confirmed the return of plastic membership cards for lifetime Tory members, replacing the much-maligned ‘membership certificates’ introduced by Amanda Milling back in 2020. At the time, Milling introduced the paper certificates to save the environment, or something like that. Even MPs were upset; Michael Fabricant complained the certificate wouldn’t fit in his trinket box of membership cards and hair clips. Jane Stevenson pointed out they could just be made of card instead. Now the debate has been put to rest – Berry’s bringing the real deal back, having just revealed the move at a fringe event this morning. Expect to see the cards’ triumphant return from January. Although this does raise questions over why it was still necessary to replace the old plastic conference passes with flimsy paper ones this year. Good news for Fabbers at least…