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Much ado about Nadhim
Nadhim Zahawi, Issue 1624

nadhim-zahawi-2.jpg SO. FAREWELL then, Nadhim Zahawi, who, just days after the last Eye asked when he might take the hint and resign as MP for Stratford-on-Avon, has done precisely that.

In a self-aggrandising resignation letter, he said he still has to pinch himself every day as he looks in the mirror and asks how a boy from Baghdad "was able to do as much as I have".

Describing himself as the MP for Shakespeare, he quoted the Bard as he explained his decision to step down: "Go to your bosom; knock there and ask your heart what it doth know".

The quote was poorly chosen – the words from Measure to Measure are Isabella's as she begs the corrupt politician Angelo for her brother's life.

Scandal sheet
Zahawi's letter ran through his greatest hits, from founding the polling company YouGov to becoming chancellor and party chairman, without mentioning his tax blunders or expenses claims for heating his stables. If those scandals failed to dislodge him, why is Zahawi going now?

One likely answer is that he looked on course to be losing one of the safest seats in the country. Local Tories blamed his "toxic" reputation for shaking the Tories' long hold on Stratford after they lost control of the district council to the Lib Dems in the May 2023 local elections.

A recent, ahem, YouGov poll predicted the Lib Dems winning 38 percent of the vote in the constituency in the next general election against the Conservatives' 32 percent.

Tanner time?
Who will be Stratford's new Tory candidate? Zahawi invited Will Tanner, No 10's deputy chief of staff, to a Conservative Association party in Stratford last week. But the mood locally is against another ambitious "parachute" candidate – as Zahawi was back in 2010 – with no real constituency connection.

Pressure group Stratford CAN (Conservative Alternative to Nadhim) says it is ready to spring its own candidate should the association choose badly.

Very unlucky
Soon after his resignation, Zahawi announced that he is replacing Aidan Barclay as chair at online retailer Very Group, owned by the Barclay empire.

In an outgoing interview with the Stratford Herald, he said his proudest moments were the letters of thanks he got from constituents each week for solving their problems. That and the work he got done on the Birmingham Road. As one local described it to the Eye: "You know, the badly congested road that leads out of town."

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1624 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 6th June 2024
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More top stories in the latest issue:

CRAIG'S LIST
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ACCESS RAMP-UP
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has been enjoying the services of a "campaign adviser" donated by a lobbyist that represents financial firms.

HOUSING NEWS
Natalie Elphicke's defection from the Tories hints at some uncomfortable choices on housing policy that lie in wait for any future Labour government.

RENTAL ARITHMETIC
The Renters (Reform) Bill, which aims to rebalance the power between tenants and landlords, ran into a wall of ermine-clad landlords in the House of Lords.

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A LOAD OF KABUL
An employment tribunal hearing has laid bare the government's disastrous response to the Taliban's take-back of Afghanistan in late summer 2021.

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BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Gibraltar's inhabitants – 96 percent of whom voted to stay in the EU – have been among the most ignored consequences of the UK's departure from the EU.

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