The Conservative MP for Stratford Upon Avon is interesting for all the wrong reasons. is this someone we want in government? Who’s interests does he represent? In January, Theresa May gave him a post as Families and Childrens’ Minister. Wealthy Conservative party donor David Meller has resigned from the apprenticeship delivery board that he co-chaired with Nadhim Zahawi, who voted, in 2012, against introducing a tax on bank bonuses to fund creating new jobs for young people, reducing VAT and tax for firms taking on extra workers.
I find it staggering that people such as Zahawi and Meller are put in ministerial posts that represent the groups of people who their voting records show they have least concerns about: particularly young people and families on low incomes. He voted to not exclude child benefit from the benefits cap, to penalise people with a spare room with the bedroom tax, against a fax on bank bonuses to create more jobs and against supporting small businesses that employ people.
On the Presidents Club Dinner scandal, The Daily Mail gets stuck in. The Guardian report on 15th February that calls had been made for Nadhim to step down for not reporting what went on. He issued a report after an article appeared in the FT, not after the event took place the week before.
He attacks Asma Al Assad in the Guardian in an opinion column for being married to Assad, which seems misogynistic as if he thinks Assad is wrong, why not just attack him directly? This article has now become impossible to find………..Many unsuccessful searches later, here it is. Is Asma blocking Nadhim’s self-interest to take oil from Syria, in the way the King of Botswana who became its first president blocked the UK secret mission to mine for diamonds on his tribal land in the 1940s?
He earned a heck of a lot of money from Gulf Keystone Petroleum, with a huge pay out when he resigned recently to take his ministerial post, when Gulf Keystone was massively in debt and facing insolvency. How did he make so much money here? Even the Daily Mail want to know.
Now, on Thisismoney, Gulf Keystone Petroleum is recommended as a top buy with its share price going up. What is going on? I will never understand how a company so in debt that it cannot pay its debts can attract investors? This document from Companies House might give some clues. This is happening now while we’re dropping bombs on Syria. In 2016, shares in Gulf Keystone plunged by 30% and the Kurdish government didn’t repay £100million that it owed Gulf Keystone, which was also effected by falling oil prices (remember a couple of years when petrol got cheaper? Now it’s going up quite fast. Is there a link?).
Nadhim has an amazing voting record. Have a look for yourself at how he votes on human rights, and on welfare and benefits, and he voted against investigations into the Iraq War, while most other Tory MPs voted for investigations. I wonder why?
Along with Stephen Shakespeare, Nadhim was a co-founder of YouGov that gives many MPs payouts for answering a few loaded questions to gain press inches, especially to undermine public confidence in the Labour Party in the run up to the election. (See my full blog on this here) he has quite a property portfolio.
Anyway, Nadhim Zahawi quit the oil firm in January this year and it looks as if he has quite the family firm he set up with his wife and his recruitment firm SThree too, a promise he made if he became a minister.
This guy defintely benefits financially from his various financial interests and his position as an MP. He is doing nothing illegally, which illustrates how a Conservative MP can get away with behaviours which don’t seem fitting for a government representative, can profit from government expenses, such as claiming for a large electricity bill for his stables, now paid back, and as an MP since 2010, the taxpayer has helped him increase his property portfolio through allowances and expenses, which he can now rent out. As a parliamentarian he receives private donations, though the purpose of these does not have to be explained in the Register of Ministers Interests. (dated 18 April 2018). Zahawi is easy to find at the very end of this document.
There is the offshore, with Gulf Keystone was incorporated in Bermuda in 2001. With Zahawi’s vote against investigation into the Iraq War (although most other Tory MPs voted for it), his salary of £30,000 a month while lower-income investors’ shares were wiped out when the price plummeted by 99% to 2pm in 2016. With involvement in war and public attacks on Assad and his wife Asma, it makes me wonder if they somehow got in the way of Nadhim Zahawi’s interests. I just wonder if oil, gas, pipelines and Syria come into it somehow.
My main questions are:
- How can an MP be impartial to vote or debate on matters including Iraq, where he was born, and anywhere that oil could be found, if he is involved in an oil exploration business? This sounds like a conflict of interest. Also, following the Panama Papers and the Expenses Scandal, how can he incorporate a company in Bermuda as an obvious tax haven? What tax did he pay on his income from Gulf Keystone Petroleum?
- What does he understand about Human Rights when he attends functions that exploit young women such as the Presidents Club? Why didn’t he report it as he is Families’ and Children’s Minister?
- When someone is caught claiming expenses of over £5000 to pay for electricity in his stables, how can he vote against increasing spending on welfare?
On 9 Mar 2011: Nadhim Zahawi voted to introduce Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments and to restrict housing benefit for those in social housing deemed to have excess bedrooms. [Here is the link]
This Guardian article asks:
Nadhim Zahawi has financial ties to Balshore Investments and Berkford Investments, which operate from a lawyers’ office in Gibraltar. He does not declare a connection to either company on the MPs’ register of interests.
So who are the people who have made private donations, listed in Zahawi’s register of interests:
- Amjad Bsiesu – chief executive of EnQuest an ‘aggressive oil company’ (according to the Globe and Mail).
- Bansols Beta – they seem to be a fast food joint.
- Peter Cruddas – founder of online trading company CMC Markets. In the 2007 Sunday Times Rich List, he was named the richest man in the City of London, with an estimated fortune of £860 million. As of March 2012, Forbes estimated his wealth at $1.3 billion. (Wickipedia).
Why is Peter Cruddas making private donations to Nadhim Zahawi in 2018? According to Wickipedia:
- Cruddas was appointed Conservative Party co-treasurer in June 2011. In March 2012 it was alleged by The Sunday Times that he had offered access to the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor George Osborne, in exchange for cash donations of between £100,000 and £250,000. Cruddas resigned the same day.
This Guardian article concludes that “Last year Balshore received around £112,000 in dividends from YouGov. The current tax on dividends for higher rate taxpayers in the UK is 32.5%. There is also no liability to tax on dividends paid by a Gibraltar company to a person who is not resident in Gibraltar.”
I just don’t feel comfortable with our country being run by people with such duplicitous, self-serving double standards as Nadhim Zahawi.