Nadhim Zahawi entered Number 10 this evening as Education Secretary but left as Chancellor of the Exchequer, as Boris Johnson named Rishi Sunak’s replacement.

Mr Sunak resigned around 6pm, shortly after health secretary Sajid Javid also stepped down as health secretary.

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Plunging the Prime Minister into one of the most serious crises of his leadership, Mr Johnson returned to Downing Street joined by the ultra-loyal Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris as he assessed the significance of the Cabinet revolt against his leadership.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Boris Johnson with former-Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Picture: PABoris Johnson with former-Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Picture: PA

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s departure as chancellor, the PM said he was “sorry” to have received Mr Sunak’s resignation letter and praising his “outstanding service”.

In a letter, the Prime Minister wrote: “Dear Rishi, I was sorry to receive your letter resigning from the Government.

“You have provided outstanding service to the country through the most challenging period for our economy in peacetime history”.

He noted the furlough scheme, Mr Sunak’s work on post-pandemic economic recovery and to repair public finances, as well as tax cuts.

“I have enormously valued your advice and deep commitment to public service and will miss working with you in government,” he concluded.

Who is Nadhim Zahawi?

Swanage and Wareham Voice: MP for Stratford-on-Avon Nadhim Zahawi named Chancellor. Picture: PAMP for Stratford-on-Avon Nadhim Zahawi named Chancellor. Picture: PA

Zahawi has served as Secretary of State for Education since September 2021 and has been MP for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010.

Born in Iraq to a Kurdish family, he came to the UK as a nine-year-old when his parents fled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Already named as a potential frontrunner to replace Mr Johnson as Prime Minister, should he resign in the coming days, the successful businessman is regarded by some as a “safe pair of hands” if other candidates prove too divisive.

He came to wider prominence as vaccines minister during the pandemic and was credited with playing a key part in the successful rollout of the jab.

Michelle Donelan will replace Mr Zahawi as Education Secretary, Downing Street has confirmed.