Jake Berry Calls on Nadhim Zahawi to “Step Aside”

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.

 

 

mdi-timer 27 January 2023 @ 08:44 27 Jan 2023 @ 08:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
CCHQ Scraps ‘Unconscious Bias’ Training for Parliamentary Candidates

Earlier this week it was revealed Conservative candidates are receiving vital “unconscious bias” training ahead of their selection, with useful lessons in “white resentment” and gender fluidity all on the menu. Would-be MPs were even advised against being alone with a member of the opposite sex…

Now ITV reports the Party has deleted the course entirely, after a fierce backlash from Tory MPs – including the Common Sense group, chaired by Sir John Hayes – warned that the training was “divisive nonsense” that needed scrapping. The Common Sense group immediately demanded a meeting at CCHQ, including with Party Chair Nadhim Zahawi, with Zahawi later writing to MPs:

“This ‘training’ was provided by a private contractor as an optional extra to our candidates. It was not commissioned or endorsed by the Party and once I found out about it I have ensured it has been removed […] I don’t believe anyone should be ashamed of who they are or their background and this ‘training’ has no place in the Conservative Party.”

That’s one mess Zahawi’s cleaned up, at least…

mdi-timer 26 January 2023 @ 08:55 26 Jan 2023 @ 08:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Minister Bowie Says Rishi Will Sack Zahawi if Report Finds Against Him

Is that a pre-briefed government line? Guido has a feeling it wasn’t…

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 12:59 25 Jan 2023 @ 12:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer Goes for Sunak’s Family Tax and Jibes Job is “Too Big” for Him

As pressure mounts on Nadhim Zahawi, PMQs failed to live up to its billing as a defining moment for the Conservative Party Chairman. Sir Keir did make a few jibes, prodding the PM on his reluctance to probe on “family finances and tax avoidance”, before asking:

“is he starting to wonder if this job is just too big for him?”

In short, Rishi came off ok.

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 12:45 25 Jan 2023 @ 12:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
WATCH: Zahawi’s Car-Crash Interview Over Fine

This fantastic clip from ITN Archive graced Guido’s desk this morning. Dating from 2004, it shows Mr Zahawi of London complaining about receiving a fine, and warning that the more fines issued the more they’ll get paid. “This is one mishap Mr Zahawi won’t be able to forget in a hurry…”

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 10:08 25 Jan 2023 @ 10:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government’s Media Round Silence Creates Anti-Zahawi Void

When The Mirror revealed the government was to reduce the number of ministerial appearances on the morning media round, senior government sources were quick to insist to Guido that it isn’t an anti-accountability move, and they’ll still send spokespeople out when there’s a story to “talk about or defend”. Today is the second day this week that the government have refused to offer anyone up for the media round…

While there’s obviously a lot to defend, the government could conceivably claim they have nothing to announce. Unfortunately, Guido’s seen the government grid for this week, and there’s more than enough government business happening today to justify a media round: there’s a big levelling up speech from Gove, a £30 million investment to decarbonise UK highways, a DWP occupational health innovation fund, and the UK Seafood Fund fleet modernisation scheme.

Instead, the absence of anyone fighting the government’s corner has created a void that’s been filled by Tory Peer Lord Hayward, who’s calling on Nadhim Zahawi to consider his position, and David Gauke predicting that Zahawi will have to resign.

Yesterday we saw Caroline Noakes – admittedly as much a Tory MP these days as David Gauke – call on Zahawi to quit, and the Telegraph has a slew of former anonymous Cabinet members calling on him to go. Avoiding the media en masse only gives the impression of a government running scared…

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 09:01 25 Jan 2023 @ 09:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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