Zahawi, Nadhim

Nadhim Zahawi was first elected as the Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon in 2010, being reelected in 2019 with a majority of 19,972.

The constituency of Stratford on Avon is found to the south of Warwickshire and is the largest seat within the county. The constituency contains the tourist town of Stratford upon Avon at the top of the Cotswolds.  Stratford on Avon is famous for its connection with William Shakespeare, and traditionally attracts as many as two and a half million visitors a year.   This seat also contains the smaller market town of Alcester and the village of Studley. A  quarter of the population here are said to be over retirement age.

Stratford on Avon is a very safe Conservative seat which has been held by the part ever since it was created in 1950.  The Conservatives polled close to 50% of the vote here, even in the Labour landslide year of 1997.  It was once represented in Parliament by the Conservative Defence Secretary, John Profumo, himself the centre of the 1963 Profumo affair.

Zahawi was appointed as the Under Secretary of State for Vaccine Deployment in the government in 2020.  He had previously served as the Under Secretary of State for Business and Industry between 2019 and 2020, and for Children and Families between 2018 and 2019

Even prior to the public exposure associated with his position in 2020 and 2021 as being the Minister in charge of the rolling out of the Coronavirus vaccine, Nadim Zahawi had been a regular feature on the radio and television on behalf of the government.

Zahawi was born in  Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967.  His family fled Iraq, when he was nine, in order to escape the regime of Saddam Hussein.   Upon his election in 2010, he was the first Kurdish Iraqi to be elected to the British House of Commons.

Having moved to England, Zahawi then grew up in Sussex.  He later studied chemical engineering at University College London.

Prior to being elected to Parliament, Zahawi was a very successful entrepreneur having co founded the polling company, YouGov. Having started the company in a garden shed in 2000, he was the Chief Executive of the company when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.  He was named ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ by Ernst & Young in 2008.  Prior to setting up YouGov, Zahawi had worked in marketing.

Along with his fellow later YouGov founder, Stephan Shakespeare, Zahawi was involved in Jeffrey Archer’s campaign to become Mayor of London in 1998.

In 2011 Zahawi co-authored Masters of Nothing with Matt Hancock, who was later to become his boss at the Department of Health.  The book looks at the human behaviour involved in the 2008 banking crisis.

Zahawi was elected to Wandsworth Council in south London between 1994 and 2006.

He supported ‘Brexit’ in the 2016 EU referendum.  He backed Dominic Raab, and later Boris Johnson, in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election.

Zahawi is married and has three children.


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Twitter: @NadhimZahawi

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