Nadhim Zahawi appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by British PM

British-Kurdish MP Nadhim Zahawi in an interview with Kurdistan 24 in 2017 (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
British-Kurdish MP Nadhim Zahawi in an interview with Kurdistan 24 in 2017 (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Britain's former Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi was appointed the new Chancellor of the Exchequer by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, replacing Rishi Sunak. 

He was previously appointed Secretary of State for Education on Sept. 15, 2021. At the time, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani congratulated him, tweeting, "We are proud of his work as Vaccine Minister for the UK and beyond."

Read More: Kurd appointed as Secretary of State for Education in UK

Before being appointed British Secretary of State for Education, Zahawi served as the minister in charge of the British government's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Read More: 'We've got very good friends in London to help us': PM Barzani

The Guardian on Tuesday wrote that Zahawi is "continuing his rapid recent ascent which saw him only become a junior minister in 2018, and first enter the cabinet, as education secretary, less than a year ago."

According to the newspaper, Zahawi gained huge credit as Britain's vaccine minister, "something regularly cited by Boris Johnson as one of the defining achievements of his time in office."

Zahawi was elected as Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon in May 2010. He was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents who fled to the UK to escape the brutal Baath regime of Saddam Hussein in 1978, when Zahawi was nine-years-old, according to his parliamentary biography.

"Having grown up as a Kurdish boy under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, I often remind people that this is the best country in the world to call home," Zahawi wrote for The Mail on Sunday last month.

Ruwayda Mustafah, a British Kurdish member of the Conservative party and the 50:50 Parliament diversity team, told Kurdistan 24 that she thinks "Zahawi's appointment probably ruined his chances of a leadership bid within the Conservative party, particularly given that there's an internal uproar against Boris Johnson."

"Irrespective of Zahawi's politics, I think it's always important to have those with Kurdish heritage participate in the political process in the UK," she said. 

"British Kurds from across the political spectrum should engage with parties that represent their values and moral principles, which will enable our communities to be better."