2023-01-24 06:00:26

Zahawi and Johnsons wealthy friends are an image problem for Sunaks Tories

Logo The Guardian
The Guardian
By Pippa Crerar

At the Conservative party conference in 2021, Nadhim Zahawi met a multimillionaire Canadian businessman who had spent his career in the education sector and, sources said, was interested in discussing it with the former education secretary.

It was not an unusual meeting for party conference, where ministers regularly rub shoulders with lobbyists and campaigners in their various patches at events organised by the Tory party and by external groups, as well as in the bars and restaurants of grand hotels.

However, the individual in question was Sam Blyth, a distant cousin of Boris Johnson who, just eight months earlier, had agreed to guarantee a loan of up to 800,000 to help fund the prime ministers lifestyle.

There is no suggestion that the conversation was planned, or that Zahawi knew about the loan agreement when he met Blyth. In fact, when the Guardian first asked his spokesperson about it, we were told that he had no recollection of meeting him.

Blyth, however, confirmed that the pair had met. He said: I didnt seek out a meeting with the education minister, although I did meet him in passing. Boris Johnson knew nothing about this incidental meeting before, during or afterwards.

Continue read on theguardian.com

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