A CAMPAIGNER has called upon progressives in Stratford to come together to oust ‘absentee MP’ Nadhim Zahawi at the next general election.
Vikki Parker, coordinator of Stratford-On-Avon Compass, a cross-party campaign group, also said the Conservative party chairman should ‘do the decent thing and resign’ after it emerged HMRC had asked Mr Zahawi to pay a seven-figure settlement over his tax affairs.
Vikki said: “Nadhim Zahawi is an absentee MP. I feel he does little locally and this tax fiasco is yet another example of the sleaze, corruption and dishonesty that continues to taint the Conservative party.
“My message to Nadhim Zahawi would be to do the decent thing and resign.”
Mr Zahawi has been MP for Stratford since 2010. At the last general election in 2019, he won a majority of 19,972.
Electoral calculus predictions based on current polling suggest the Conservatives could still win the seat next time – but unlike in 2019, the progressive vote would outnumber the Tory vote.
This means that if Labour, the Green Party and the Lib Dems work together and unite behind a single candidate, they could stand a chance of winning the seat, explained Vikki.
She continued: “I’d like the progressive parties to have some honest conversations about what’s happened in the past and to then resolve to stop looking backwards and to start looking forwards, working together to focus on getting what we all want, which is an MP with integrity who will serve all their constituents honestly and properly.
“The reason I’m part of Compass is that I don’t feel represented. I’ve voted all my life and never been represented by somebody I voted for.
“At the last General Election the majority voted for progressive politics. It galls me that while more people voted against Boris Johnson than voted for him, he became PM. We are desperately in need of electoral reform, where votes count equally”.
Mr Zahawi clung onto his seat in Cabinet last week despite a number of senior Tory MPs calling for him to step down.
Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of “weakness” for not sacking Mr Zahawi.
Instead Mr Sunak opted to let “due process” take its course by asking his ethics investigator Sir Laurie Magnus to look into Mr Zahawi’s tax affairs after it emerged the 55-year-old had paid a penalty to HMRC over unpaid tax while he was chancellor.
Mr Zahawi is to remain Tory Party chairman during the investigation.
In a statement, Mr Zahawi said he welcomed the investigation and looked forward to “explaining the facts of this issue”.