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New Secretary of State for Education and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi leaves KES in lurch on Speech Day

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New Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi failed to turn up at a school prize-giving event on his first day in his new role.

The Stratford MP was due to appear at King Edward VI School’s Speech Day last night (Thursday) as the guest of honour.

Nadhim Zahawi (51072282)
Nadhim Zahawi (51072282)

The Herald was also a guest and waited with headmaster Bennet Carr, chair of governors Victor Matts, trustee Tony Bird and others in the garden forecourt for Mr Zahawi to arrive ahead of the 7pm start.

With the Levi Fox Hall full of seated parents, students, staff and guests, the decision was made to start the proceedings at 7.10pm in the hope that Mr Zahawi would arrive at some point.

Despite the headmaster’s hopeful assertion that Mr Zahawi was on his way, and his watchful eye on the door, alas Mr Zahawi still had not shown up by the time of his scheduled address during the evening’s programme.

Instead Mr Carr returned to the lectern and made a short speech about his new role as secretary of state for education, much to the amusement of the audience. After a quip about departing minister Gavin Williamson, he then outlined what his priorities would be.

Mr Zahawi’s no-show made Head Boy Will Warner’s vote of thanks all the funnier as he thanked the MP (nods of gratitude from Mr Carr) and carried on with his prepared speech on the honoured but absent guest.

UPDATE: Mr Carr has confirmed that he has since received an apology for Mr Zahawi's absence. He told the Herald: "It would appear that there was an unfortunate communication breakdown within Nadhim’s team. His PA contacted me just after the event to say that she had only just heard that Nadim was unable to make it and offered profuse apologies."

See more of this story and Mr Zahawi’s new role in next week’s Herald.

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