MP Nadhim Zahawi reselected as the Conservative candidate for Stratford despite tax furore - The Leamington Observer

MP Nadhim Zahawi reselected as the Conservative candidate for Stratford despite tax furore

MP NADHIM Zahawi has been reselected as the Conservative candidate for Stratford despite being sacked from the government earlier this year over his tax affairs.

The Stratford Conservative Association met on Friday night (March 31) where they agreed to re-adopt Mr Zahawi as their candidate for the next general election.

The 55-year-old was sacked from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet for a ‘serious breach of the Ministerial Code’ related to his tax affairs in January.

The sacking followed an an investigation by the PM’s ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus after it emerged Mr Zahawi had paid a seven-figure settlement, including a penalty, to HMRC for tax avoidance.

Sir Laurie found Mr Zahawi had been in breach of the ministerial code on seven occasions by failing to declare his tax affairs and denying media reports he was under investigation by HMRC.

This included not declaring he was being investigated by the tax body when he was appointed chancellor by Boris Johnson.

The investigation took six days to complete.

Mr Zahawi has maintained from the outset that he acted properly, and that his tax error was “careless and not deliberate”.

Following the conclusion of the inquiry he voiced his commitment to the constituency, pledging to “make sure that I am as good a member of parliament as I can be for the people of Stratford”.

Following their decision, the Stratford Conservative’s wrote on their website: “Tonight the Executive Council of Stratford-on-Avon Conservative Association re-adopted Nadhim Zahawi as our parliamentary candidate. We look forward to continuing to work alongside him to deliver for the residents and communities within the constituency.”

Back in January the Conservative Association said they respected the result of the independent enquiry, along with the decision and action by the PM.

They continued that they commended Mr Zahawi for being a hardworking, collaborative and approachable constituency MP with an open door for residents, many of whom he has helped, and were confident he will continue to serve constituents conscientiously from the back benches.

Campaign group Stratford-on-Avon Compass however, have consistently voiced the opinion Mr Zahawi should not be representing their constituency.

Vikki Parker, campaign group co-ordinator, said: “Nadhim Zahawi has been sacked from his role as Conservative Party chair following the investigation into his tax affairs, but despite everything that’s happened he’s still in Westminster representing our constituency.

“If he isn’t fit to be the Conservative Party Chair, he isn’t fit to be an MP.”

Mr Zahawi has been MP for Stratford since 2010. At the last general election in 2019, he won a majority of 19,972.

Vikki added: “The reason I’m part of Compass is that I don’t feel represented. I’ve voted all my life and never been represented by somebody I voted for.

“Nadhim Zahawi is an absentee MP. I feel he does little locally and this tax fiasco is yet another example of the sleaze, corruption and dishonesty that continues to taint the Conservative party.”

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