Steerpike Steerpike

Nadhim turns on the media

Photo by CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty Images

So. Farewell then. Nadhim Zahawi. It’s been quite the six months for the onetime favourite to succeed Boris Johnson. He accepted the Chancellorship in July, before turning on Johnson 36 hours later. He crashed out of the leadership race to replace Johnson within days, before being demoted to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster after just two months at the Treasury. He then backed Johnson to be PM again in October, moments before the latter pulled out of the leadership race. Zahawi was subsequently demoted again by Rishi Sunak to the role of party chairman two days after that. And today he has now lost that post too after less than 100 days at CCHQ.

Zahawi’s inglorious tenure as party chair will be remembered mostly for the dogged focus of the press on his finances, following the revelation in July that he was being investigated for tax avoidance by HMRC while serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Clearly, the Stratford upon Avon MP hasn’t taken kindly to these journalistic endeavours. For the former vaccines minister has today quit with one last jab at his detractors in the press, in a somewhat graceless resignation letter that makes no reference to his breach of the ministerial code. After listing his various achievements, Zahawi ends by taking a pop at the Independent over one of its recent headlines:

I am concerned, however, about the conduct from some of the fourth estate in recent weeks. In a week when a Member of Parliament was physically assaulted, I fail to see how one headline on this issue ‘The Noose tightens’ reflects legitimate scrutiny of public officials. I am sorry to my family for the toll this has taken on them.

The Independent of course was the first outlet to report last July that Zahawi’s finances had been investigated by both the National Crime Agency and HMRC.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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