Having fled Iraq with his family at the age of nine, Zahawi went on to study Chemical Engineering at University College London. Zahawi worked as the European marketing director for Smith and Brooks, until 1999. In the meantime, Zahawi became a Councillor in Wandsworth, a role he continued until 2006. The following year, Zahawi co-founded YouGov, the internet based market research and polling company, alongside Stephan Shakespeare.
Zahawi has been the Conservative MP for Stratford Upon Avon since 2010. During Theresa May's premiership, Zahawi was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Education, and later became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry under Boris Johnson. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Zahawi became the Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, where he was highly praised given the speed and efficiency of the vaccine roll out. In September 2021, Zahawi became Secretary of state for Education. Following Rishi Sunak's resignation in July 2022, Zahawi was promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer by Boris Johnson. However, the following day, Zahawi joined calls for Johnson's resignation, given his position had become untenable. Truss has now appointed him to a coordinating role at the heart of the Cabinet Office.
Views on portfolio
Zahawi is best known for his time as Vaccines Minister during the pandemic, which led to his promotion to Education Secretary. On entering his new role as Equalities Minister, Zahawi is faced with numerous 'culture war' issues, which are politically contentious. His coordinating role in the Cabinet Office will also mean he has a key role in delivering Liz Truss's agenda, chairing committees and ensuring Government policy is coherent.