Nadhim Zahawi replaces Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer

5 July 2022, 21:44 | Updated: 5 July 2022, 22:54

Nadhim Zahawi has replaced Rishi Sunak
Nadhim Zahawi has replaced Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer following the resignation of Rishi Sunak this evening.

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Appointed Chancellor hours after the resignation of Rishi Sunak, Mr Zahawi will now take on one of the biggest jobs in Government serving the embattled Prime Minister amid the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

He will also be charged with putting together a crucial autumn Budget as inflation bites.

He was seen leaving No10 with a brown envelope, making no comment when asked by press if he would "spray public money around to save Boris Johnson's skin" before leaving in a ministerial car.

Mr Sunak resigned around 6pm over Boris Johnson's appointment of MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip despite allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

It came after Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced his resignation minutes before Sunak and shortly after the Prime Minister issued a grovelling apology for appointing Mr Pincher.

Most recently the Education Secretary, Mr Zahawi had early success as the vaccines minister, helping to lead the Government's vaccine programme following his appointment in November 2020.

Read more: The end of Boris? Beleaguered PM fights for political life after Sunak and Javid quit

Read more: Steve Barclay appointed Health Secretary after Sajid Javid resigns

Born in Iraq to a Kurdish family, Mr Zahawi came to the UK as a nine-year-old when his parents fled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Believed to be one of the richest politicians in the House of Commons, he helped found polling company YouGov after studying chemical engineering at University College London.

He has often said that his own personal backstory has deeply influenced his view of Britain and he recently spoke of the debt he owed poet Philip Larkin as he improved his English as a teenager.

Seen as a "safe pair of hands", he came to the Education Secretary role following the sacking of Gavin Williamson, who had become deeply unpopular with the public over the exams fiasco during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has since taken over from Mr Zahawi as Education Secretary while Steve Barclay was appointed Health Secretary.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves accused the new Chancellor of acting in his own interest.

The Labour MP tweeted on Tuesday evening that the Cabinet was propping up a "failing Prime Minister".

"A new Tory Chancellor appointed," she said.

"Tory ministers and MPs continue to prop up a failing Prime Minister.

"Our country and our economy needs leaders that will act in our best interests.

"It's clear that the Prime Minister and Chancellor are only acting in theirs."