After Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resigned from Boris Johnson’s cabinet, the Prime Minister has filled these two key roles with Nadhim Zahawi as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Steve Barclay as the health secretary.
Zahawi, the former education secretary took over from Rishi Sunak, who departed the government after losing confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
For Mr Zahawi, leading one of the great offices of state might have been unthinkable as a child.
The 55 year old said “I must be one of the luckiest human beings on earth,” the Stratford-upon-Avon MP said reflecting on his early years.
Born in Iraq in 1967 he could easily have been sent to fight in the 1980s Iran-Iraq War. He said “I would have been drafted in to the Iraqi army, had to go to front line and probably die,”
Instead, he and his parents were forced to flee Iraq and he grew up in Britain. He became the education secretary after the sacking of Gavin Williamson, who was unpopular with the public after the exams fiasco during the pandemic.
He faced the unprecedented challenge of ensuring a whole generation of children caught up after having missed months of school as a result of the pandemic.
During his tenure he promoted vocational qualification T Levels aiming to make them as famous as A Levels.
He tried to push through the government’s Schools Bill, although he later U-turned on several clauses following opposition, according to reports.
And was aiming to help more children benefit from the National Tutoring Programme.
In recent weeks, he had been attempting to see off a potential strike action by teachers, which he called “unforgivable” months after children just returned to school following pandemic disruption.
A strong media performer, the loyal minister has been been relied upon regularly to defend the prime minister on broadcast media rounds.
A year ago Mr Zahawi was not in the cabinet, now he is moving into No 11 Downing Street.