Nadhim Zahawi’s job as Tory chair ‘hanging by a thread’, says former No 10 communications chief – UK politics live

LIVE – Updated at 09:48 Latest updates: Conservative government under pressure over revelations Zahawi paid penalty to settle tax dispute while in

cabinet.   09:48   09:42 Paul Goodman, editor of the ConservativeHome website and a former Conservative MP, is not particularly optimistic about

Nadhim Zahawi’s survival chances in a good article on the topic published this morning. Here’s an extract. For when a minister comes under fire, the prime

minister’s support is essential. If it is heartfelt, the latter may find a way of saying a few words for a camera or the airwaves. The view of the minister’s colleagues will also

be important. If they queue up to defend him, they will either believe his account of events, like him, or have an interest in backing him – not least because they may be next.

You will have your own take, but James Cleverly, the luckless minister on media duty yesterday, didn’t say that he had confidence in Zahawi as party chairman, but that his

colleagues’ futures are a matter for the prime minister. That wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence. Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith, who was also in the TV studios, urged Zahawi to

“get it all out now, whatever you have to do, and clear it up.” I haven’t yet spoken to anyone in Downing Street with a less cautious view. It’s a big place with many

staff, not all of whom will have the same opinion – a point to bear in mind when you read articles quoting “Number Ten”. Duncan Smith said that “I genuinely don’t believe this is

a man who is deceitful in any shape or form”. But one senior figure I spoke to yesterday said that he wasn’t convinced by Zahawi’s account of events.