Nadhim Zahawi apologises for mini-budget turmoil on Question Time

Former Chancellor was forced to say sorry after clashing with Piers Morgan on BBC political show

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nadim Zahawi, speaks during the final day of the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday in Birmingham, England. Getty
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Nadhim Zahawi used an appearance on Thursday night's Question Time to say sorry for the economic turmoil that followed the British government’s mini-budget.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was forced to make the apology after clashing with Talk TV presenter Piers Morgan on Thursday night.

The pair appeared on the political panel show, along with Succession actor Brian Cox, farmer Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, and Labour MP Lisa Nandy.

The pound plummeted in value against the dollar after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget announcement of a raft of tax cuts, including scrapping the 45 per cent rate of income tax for higher earners.

The government then performed a U-turn and decided to keep the top rate.

The exchange began after Morgan said Prime Minister Liz Truss had “tanked” the economy with her mini-budget.

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He said that a “great person” would concede that they had made a mistake and let someone else take over.

He then asked Mr Zahawi if he would say sorry to the country for the economic turmoil that followed the mini budget.

“Nadhim, I have great respect for you. You always used to come on Good Morning Britain when a lot of your colleagues wouldn’t.

“And I would bellow away and you would just take it, and [that’s] great, and you were great on vaccines.

“But for you, honestly, to sit there and try to defend this …

“What I haven’t heard from any of you at senior level in this party in the last 10 days is one word, sorry — sorry to the country for what you have put the country through. Do you want to say it?”

Mr Zahawi began: “Liz said ‘I’ve listened and I get it’, which is why 95 per cent of her economic policy, of her growth plan, she wanted to protect and she will deliver, and the 5 per cent which was damaging she cut. You cut and you move forward.”

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But he was cut short by Morgan, who repeatedly asked him if he would apologise to the country.

“It’s one word, and I think the public would value an apology,” he said.

Mr Zahawi then replied that Russian President Vladimir Putin would want the country to be divided, which caused the audience to erupt into laughter.

“Ask yourself this question, what would Vladimir Putin want us to do? He would want us to be divided right now, because he’s using energy …” he said.

Morgan said: “You can’t say sorry because Vladimir Putin would like it?”

Presenter Fiona Bruce cut in, telling Mr Zahawi: “Nadhim, people are laughing at that, I just want to point that out.”

Morgan then asked Mr Zahawi again if he was sorry, causing the former chancellor to say “of course” he was.

“Of course I’m sorry, absolutely,” he said.

“By the way there’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘I get it, I’ve listened, and I’ve acted, and 95 per cent of what I want to do I’m going to deliver, and I’ll drop the 5 per cent'. That’s a good thing,” he said.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 12:51 AM