Zahawi Tories shouldve stuck with Johnson

Zahawi: Tories should\'ve stuck with Johnson

Former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has suggested Tory MPs should not have been “spooked” into ousting Boris Johnson.

Mr Zahawi, who played a key role in persuading the former prime minister to stand down, said: “I wish we had held our nerve” and stuck with Mr Johnson.

He told the Sunday Times that the former prime minister, who quit after a series of scandals, was the most “consequential” leader since Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Zahawi was made chancellor in July 2022 by Mr Johnson in the wake of Rishi Sunak and dozens of other ministers quitting his government.

Two days later Mr Zahawi publicly called for Mr Johnson to stand down, having privately told him “the herd was stampeding” and unless he resigned “they are going to drag your carcass out of this place”.

But Mr Zahawi told the Sunday Times: “I wish we had held our nerve.

“Many colleagues got spooked. If colleagues had stepped back and just realised Twitter was not the country, we’d have probably made a very different decision.”

Mr Zahawi went on to be appointed party chairman under Mr Sunak, but was sacked in January 2023 after an inquiry found he had failed to disclose that HMRC was investigating his tax affairs.

He is leaving Parliament at the general election and has been appointed chairman of online retailer Very Group.

The Stratford-on-Avon MP acknowledged he should have been more “explicit” in disclosing his settlement with HMRC.

“In my ministerial declaration, I should have put in what my accountants had agreed with HMRC … that it was careless, which is a category, and therefore non-deliberate, but I should have been clear that it came with a penalty attached to it,” he said.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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