12 July 2022

Nadhim Zahawi is the grownup in the room

By Amanda Milling MP

As you read this article, many of my fellow Conservative MPs will be considering which of the candidates to support in their quest to lead the party, and the United Kingdom.

For me, the answer to that question was straightforward – Nadhim Zahawi is the man to unite our party and restore public confidence to the leadership of this government.

Nadhim has served the party for many years, as a volunteer, councillor, Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and now Chancellor of the Exchequer – he understands our party and has been a true friend to the grassroots. He is a real team player.

I’ve seen him up close as Vaccines Minister and Education Secretary, and as a fellow Midlands MP.

His decency, passion and commitment have always shone through. Put simply, Nadhim is always the grownup in the room.

As a former Deputy Chief Whip and Party Chairman, this was very important to me, and essential in my decision to support him in his efforts to become our next leader.

He will bring all parts of the party together to focus on delivering on the faith that was placed in us during the 2019 General Election.

Having travelled the breadth of the UK as Party Chairman, it is clear to me that Britain is crying out for a clear vision.

As Nadhim has outlined, that means a vision for the whole nation that leaves no one behind – North and South, East and West. It means supporting hardworking families and middle earners who are facing a record tax burden, higher bills and a battle to get on the housing ladder.

And that means we need to get on with levelling up the country.

It is easy to despair in difficult times, but by voting for Nadhim we have the opportunity to elect a Leader with realistic optimism and a proven track record of delivery, in both the private and public sector.

His five pledges as Prime Minister are as follows:

Cut taxes to reduce the cost of living

Nadhim knows that we must lower the burden of tax on hard-working families and on business to ease the cost of living crisis and boost economic growth. He will ensure that the tax burden falls every single year as a proportion of GDP. He’ll do that by abolishing the planned rise in corporation tax and reducing the base rate of income tax to 19% in 2023 and 18% in 2024.

Lower energy bills and provide energy security

Nadhim will support household budgets by pausing VAT and green levies on energy bills for two years, cutting the average energy bill by £350 a year, and put an end to our reliance on the oil and gas imports that fund Putin’s war in Ukraine by investing in renewables and nuclear and accelerating our electric vehicle charger roll-out.

Increasing defence spending to keep Britain safe

Having escaped Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Nadhim knows first-hand what tyranny looks like. He will increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2025, continue our world-leading efforts to stand up to Putin’s illegal and inhumane war by tightening economic sanctions on Russia. As a Minister of State at the Foreign Office, I needed to support someone who I know would stand up to Putin’s aggression and barbarism. That is exactly what Nadhim will do.

Be a partner to business to finish the job on levelling up

To boost jobs and regenerate our regions, Britain must be the best place in the world to do business and invest in. That is why he will launch a fundamental review – led by business, for business – to sweep away the legacy of European red tape, accelerate our free port programme and reform the apprenticeship levy to give business the flexibility they need to level up the skills of our workforce.

Get tough on crime by putting more criminals behind bars, faster

As our next Prime Minister, Nadhim will invest £1bn in our courts, legal services and the criminal bar to clear the court backlog and get justice for victims. He will also issue new national guidance to refocus police on violent crime and fraud, as well as strengthen the British Bill of Rights to ensure we can deport violent criminals and protect our borders.

Our party is at a crossroads, and the decisions we make in the coming days will help shape the future of the UK. We can’t just have more of the same.

Nadhim has the experience and energy to prioritise our party, and a great track record of delivery, as demonstrated by the world leading vaccine programme that he delivered.

It’s time for us to replicate that success across government and help unleash the unlimited potential of the United Kingdom.

I hope you will join me in supporting Nadhim and making him our next Prime Minister.

CapX is publishing editorials on a number of Tory leadership candidates. We are not endorsing any specific campaign.

Click here to subscribe to our daily briefing – the best pieces from CapX and across the web.

CapX depends on the generosity of its readers. If you value what we do, please consider making a donation.

Amanda Milling is MP for cannock Chase.

Columns are the author's own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of CapX.