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Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010…


Nadhim Zahawii Commons Nadhim Zahawi
was elected MP for Stratford-on-Avon with a majority of 11,346.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Being accosted by a member of the Socialist Workers Party at university. He was handing out magazines and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to take one and decided to get physical. It was that confrontation that made me decide to see what the other side thought.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I was lucky enough to be given British freedom and opportunity when my family fled persecution in Iraq and came to the UK, and it is that freedom of choice and opportunity to achieve that I believe that the Conservative Party stands for.”

3. Who is your political hero and why? Is it too obvious to say Thatcher? Also Iain Macleod for his fantastic oratory and powers of description. He is credited with having come up with the term 'nanny state' in 1965 and also the term 'stagflation'.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? When I joined the party in Putney in the 1980s, it was something I thought I would be interested in doing at some point in the future.

5. What is your reading material of choice? Obviously my local paper the Stratford Herald on a weekly basis, and I read the Sun, Telegraph, the Economist and Mail online as well as ConHome every day.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? On radio, John Humphrys; on television, I have been really impressed with Gavin Esler lately, he has been very good on Newsnight, and seems to be particularly balanced.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? Business, Innovation and Skills: business is my background so it seems an obvious choice. I’ve had the entire business experience from being two men in a shed that no bank would lend to, right up to running a multinational company listed on the stock exchange – having that kind of real experience in the department is a good thing. The recovery will be driven by us making more things and selling them to the world. We breed the best engineers in the world, you only have to look at Formula 1 to believe that, yet sadly we tend to lose too many to overseas companies. They also struggle to get backing in the UK for their ideas and inventions.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Senator Bill Bradley, who stood as a Democratic presidential nominee in 2000. He was a Hall of Fame Basketball player and credited with always knowing where on the court his team mates and opposition were and he carried that over to his political career as well. That sense of position is crucial in politics.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? Anyone who thinks the size of Government is about right.

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Spending time with my family, we just had a great holiday together visiting Disneyland.

12. What is your favourite book? Perfume by Patrick Suskind

13. What is your favourite film? The Godfather: Part II

14. What is your favourite music? I don’t really collect music, but I do enjoy listening to the radio and music in general. My tastes are quite eclectic: I think the new Eminem album is fantastic, but I also enjoy listening to work by Benjamin Britten.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? In London, Japanese food at Zuma; in the constituency anything from the Barasset Barn.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? The medieval village of Monterchi near Arezzo.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? To have tackled some of the pressing issues in the constituency which I promised to deliver on during the campaign and to do a decent job on the BIS Select Committee.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. Considering my size you wouldn’t believe that I’m quite useful on a horse.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Everyone obviously knows that the great Bard is from Stratford on Avon, but few people know that Kissing Tree House, in Alveston, was the home of another great writer, J. B. Priestley.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail.
I had been invited to visit The Cottage of Content, a local village pub in Barton, by a member of the public who had warned me in advance that the locals there weren’t too keen on me. I arrived late in the evening after a long day campaigning and as I opened the door and walked in it felt like the entire place went silent and everyone turned to look at me. It may not have been that way but it certainly felt like it. It’s that bloke with the funny name and the tan from London who thinks he can be our  MP, I imagined them all thinking. Quite a few beers had already been had by all and the opposition to me as the candidate was very strong, that was until we all started talking. By the end of the night the stony reception had gone and the pub was certainly living up to its name.

> Previously: Zac Goldsmith MP

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