Nadhim Zahawi was born to Kurdish parents in Baghdad in 1967, where he lived until he was nine amongst a wealthy and well-connected family. Due to the oppression of the Kurds by Saddam Hussein, his family fled to the UK as refugees.

Upon first look, his background may stand out. His success story is inspiring, a shining beacon of a diverse United Kingdom. Here is someone in Government who knows what it is to flee, who knows what it is to have to adapt to a new environment, to be born into privilege and have it snatched away within a matter of months. A young boy had to come to terms with that and build a new life.

Of course building a new life comes rather easy when your parents have money and can send you to swanky prestigious private schools for most of your educational life. Though you must feel the bitter taste of reality when you must beg your dad not to spend money on your university education, but on stables. Your father has to refuse of course, as parents often have to when their children beg for horses instead of university.

Having been connected with the likes of Jeffrey Archer and Stephen Shakespeare and having served as a Councillor for Wandsworth, Zahawi finally entered front-line politics as Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon. Integrating himself into the community by purchasing a livery yard and creating a horse-riding business with his wife.

The name Zahawi gained widespread attention in 2013 for an expenses scandal in which he charged more than £4,000 for electricity for the stables and for a yard manager’s mobile home. Zahawi apologised and expressed his mortification, later repaying the money. The energy bills for his second house contributed to Zahawi’s energy claim being the highest of all the MPs. His claims also included charging 31p for paperclips, 53p for a holepunch, 63p for pens and 89p for a stapler. Things which students must buy themselves without the help of the taxpayer.

At one point Zahawi was reportedly the second highest earning MP, a large amount of income coming from a certain oil company based in London and extracting from Kurdistan. This company is Gulf Keystone Petroleum, the same company that saw its share price collapse from a high of 425p to just 2p. Zahawi was their Chief Strategy Officer from 2015-2018, employed for his connections in Iraq and was tasked with finding a buyer for this struggling company. The company, saddled with debts and built up upon the support of small investors, eventually had their assets declared worthless. Yet still managed to pay Zahawi a handsome monthly sum of around £20,000 for part-time work. Speaking on the collapse of the company, Zahawi claimed he had nothing to do with executive decisions.

After joining Theresa May’s Government in 2018, the new Children and Families Minister attended the Presidents’ Club men-only charity dinner in which hostesses were paraded around, sexually assaulted and propositioned. When this information was revealed, Zahawi condemned any inappropriate behaviour at the event and claimed he left early. Theresa May was ‘appalled’ by the event.

Zahawi has found himself in uncomfortable situations or, depending on your point of view, made mistakes. However the positive effect the vaccine rollout has had on our lives cannot be understated. The freedom we now find ourselves can be attributed to Zahawi. Thanks to the vaccine rollout we can attend school, we can visit families and university students can party without being bothered by security.

A total of 94,376,101 vaccinations have been given, with around 86% of the population jabbed once and 79% jabbed for a second time. The Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee have recognised the vaccine programme as one of the best in Europe and in the world. We are all grateful for this vaccine rollout, but none more so than Boris Johnson. The vaccine rollout has given him and us something positive to dwell on, so the mishandling documented in the Select Committees’ report feels long in the past.

Who knows how Nadhim Zahawi will fare as the Secretary of State for Education? It is true he spent most of his educational life at independent schools. Does he lack the relevant experience? Of course. Such is the way of the cabinet.

It is easy to judge by background, especially when it is one of privilege, however it doesn’t mean that the decisions they make will be bad ones. And it doesn’t mean that someone rich hasn’t faced their own difficulties in life, Nadhim Zahawi is proof of that. It is clear that he is an effective organiser and perhaps that is what is needed. At least, he already has the advantage of not being Gavin Williamson.