Nadhim Zahawi, member of the UK parliament. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – British-Kurdish member of the UK parliament, Nadhim Zahawi, has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education in a cabinet reshuffle.
This is the first ministerial role for Zahawi who has been an MP since 2010 when he was the first British-Kurd to make it into the legislature.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May reshuffled her cabinet’s junior ministerial team, giving Zahawi the role, according to a tweet from her office.
“Nadhim was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967. Under threat of persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime, his family immigrated to the UK when he was 9. He grew up in Sussex and was educated at King’s College School in West London and University College London where he studied Chemical Engineering,” according to his official website.
He has been an outspoken supporter of the Kurdish question in the UK and has frequently visited the Kurdistan Region. He also showed his support for last year’s vote for independence.
Speaking to Rudaw when he was in the Kurdistan Region to observe the referendum, Zahawi said that self-determination is a basic and universal right.
“Why should the Kurds be any different?” he asked, describing Kurdistan as a source for “stability, security, and prosperity.”
The Guardian describes him as “one of the richest MPs” noting he has ties with Gulf Keystone, which operates in the Kurdistan Region’s Shaikhan oil field, and owns significant property.
Zahawi is also the founder of the market research company YouGov, which he cut ties with when he entered politics.