Nadhim Zahawi blanks eight questions in painfully awkward non-interview lasting 52 seconds

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·Freelance Writer
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Nadhim Zahawi stared blankly as he was approached for questions about Boris Johnson. (ITN/ITV News)
Nadhim Zahawi stared blankly as he was approached for questions about Boris Johnson. (ITN/ITV News)

A painfully awkward video has emerged of Nadhim Zahawi refusing to answer a reporter's pointed questions 12 hours before he delivered the fatal blow to Boris Johnson's leadership.

On Thursday morning, Johnson's tenure finally came to an end after chancellor Zahawi said the PM should "leave with dignity" and "go now".

It followed a remarkable 36 hours in which more than 50 MPs quit their government posts.

Zahawi – who Johnson had only appointed on Tuesday – had confronted the prime minister as part of a delegation of Cabinet ministers on Wednesday evening.

Judging by an interview posted by ITV News producer Nathan Lee, it looks like the meeting will have been a tense one.

You can watch a clip of the interview below or here. Please click the blue link if it fails to appear.

In it, Zahawi makes no attempt to answer questions about Johnson’s future, spending the time walking away and apparently searching for a taxi.

At one point he stares blankly into the camera – still refusing to make any mention of Johnson as he faced the biggest crisis of his premiership.

Read more: Boris Johnson to announce his resignation as prime minister

Zahawi also gave no answer to his own leadership ambitions, following reports in The Times that he has secretly been planning a Tory leadership campaign for months.

Johnson’s attempts to battle for his job came under further pressure on Wednesday after more resignations and a delegation of Cabinet ministers going to No 10 to tell the PM that he should stand down after losing the trust of his MPs.

Nadhim Zahawi made no mention of his own leadership ambitions during the awkward run-in with a reporter. (ITN/ITV News)
Zahawi made no mention of his own leadership ambitions during the awkward run-in with a reporter. (ITN/ITV News)

Home secretary Priti Patel, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, transport secretary Grant Shapps, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis and Welsh secretary Simon Hart were among the Cabinet ministers telling Johnson to stand down.

But the PM rejected calls to quit on Wednesday and dramatically sacked Cabinet rival Michael Gove.

Less than 12 hours later, he was gone.

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