POLITICS

David Cameron Ally Nadhim Zahawi Rebukes Tory Reshuffle Critics

15/07/2014 10:22 BST | Updated 15/07/2014 10:59 BST
Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister David Cameron (L) walks with Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi at the Conservative Party Conference during a television interview on October 5, 2010 in Birmingham, England. On the third day of the conference speakers are set to debate public services, crime and justice and poverty. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, a close ally of David Cameron, has warned disgruntled male Conservatives against venting their fury at being passed over promotion in the prime minister's ongoing reshuffle.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Zahawi, who sits on No. 10 Downing Street's policy board, urged fellow Tory MPs to remain supportive in response to the reshuffle, adding that "people don't vote for split parties".

"My advice to all colleagues is we are a team and we are stronger when we are a team and when we are united. As long as we remain united, we'll be a force to be reckoned with," he said on Monday night.

Zahawi said that the reshuffle process was about "getting your best people in place", praising the current cabinet for having "some fantastic people on the team".

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This comes as the Tory right have sounded off about some of the Prime Minister's decisions so far, with former chairman Lord Tebbit warning that the exit of Owen Paterson as environment secretary put the party's "very wide support in the countryside" at risk.

The Prime Minister's reshuffle has seen the exit of a series of white, middle-aged ministers including Ken Clarke, attorney general Dominic Grieve, foreign secretary William Hague and Michael Gove leaving as education secretary, with a range of women promoted in their place like Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss.

Lord Tebbit questioned Cameron’s decision to promote more women in a bid to improve diversity, adding: "When I go to see a doctor or a dentist I go on the basis of their professional reputation, not their gender. It should be no different for ministers.’

Paul Goodman wrote on the website Conservative Home about the risk of male Conservatives seeking "revenge" after being passed over for promotion.

"The average Conservative backbencher is a man. His chances of promotion are being thwarted, twice," he said, adding: "Cameron must beware the revenge of Prufrock."

One senior Tory lashed out at the prime minister's plans to promote large numbers of women, telling the Guardian: "This really is the worst form of tokenistic gesture politics...merit is out of the window."

Meanwhile, one Tory MP told the Daily Telegraph's Christopher Hope that older MPs were effectively "being shot" in the reshuffle process.

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