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After Walkouts, PM Johnson Appoints New Finance Min, Health Sec; Who Are They?

The new appointments came after Rishi Sunak's shocking walk out, followed by former Health Secretary's resignation.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

With UK's former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak's resignation giving rise to a series of walk-outs, including the quitting of Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed their replacements within hours in a wager to save his government from nearing collapse.

Iraqi-born education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, was appointed as the new finance minister and UK Cabinet chief of staff, Steve Barclay, was appointed as the health secretary.

Zahawi’s appointment was approved by Queen Elizabeth II, Downing Street said, AFP reported.

But who are Zahawi and Barclay?

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Zahawi: The New Finance Minister

Born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents, Nadhim Zahawi, came to the UK as a boy, after his family fled Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime in the 1970s.

He now takes on the responsibility of handling the treasury and the worst cost-of-living crisis UK has seen in a generation.

The 55-year-old eventually built a successful business career and also co-founded the polling company YouGov. He later became active in local Conservative politics in London, before becoming an MP in 2010.

More prominently, he stood out for his role in overseeing the nation’s vaccination roll-out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from backing Brexit in 2016, Zahawi has also been a staunch defender of Johnson throughout partygate.

He and his wife reportedly also own five residences worth 17 million pounds – three in London, one in Warwickshire and one in Dubai, Bloomberg reported.

Barclay: The New Health Secretary

Barclay, an MP since 2010, had taken on a series of roles before Theresa May made him Brexit secretary in 2018 following David Davis' resignation in protest at May's planned European Union (EU) departure deal.

Educated at King Edward VII School in Lytham St Annes Lancashire before reading history at Peterhouse, Cambridge, Barclay later studied law at the College of Law, Chester.

Before entering politics, the new health secretary had qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He worked as an insurance company lawyer for AXA Insurance, as a regulator for the Financial Services Authority, and as Director of Regulatory Affairs and then Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions at Barclays Retail Bank.

Steve was appointed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office on 15 September 2021. Prior to this, he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

He was Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care from where he was responsible for NHS workforce, finance, efficiency from January to November 2018.

Barclay was Economic Secretary to the Treasury from June 2017 to January 2018. He had also served as a Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) from July 2016 to June 2017.

"It is an honour to take up the position of Health and Social Care Secretary. Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again - throughout the pandemic and beyond - what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives."
Barclay said in a statement, after his appointment.

He added, "This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the COVID backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need."

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The Resignations

The resignations came soon after Johnson said he "bitterly regrets" giving Chris Pincher a government role as deputy chief whip after being made aware of a misconduct complaint against him.

While announcing his resignation, Sunak said that the public rightly expects the government to be conducted "properly, competently, and seriously". He also added that this may be his last ministerial job, and that he "believed these standards are worth fighting for".

Meanwhile, in the resignation letter to Johnson, now former Health Secretary Javid said that it was clear to him that "this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too".

Javid, who is a British citizen of Pakistani origin, also stated, "We (Conservative party) may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither."

This was followed by other junior resignations, including Conservative Party Vice-Chair Bim Afolami – who called on Johnson to resign as he has lost the “support of the party and the country”.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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