Nadhim Zahawi laughed at for blaming Tories budget fiasco on Putin

Nadhim Zahawi was interrupted by laughter on Question Time after saying he didn't want to apologise over the Conservative’s mini-budget disaster because of Vladimir Putin.

The former chancellor appeared on the panel on Thursday and was asked by fellow guest Piers Morgan why his government had not apologised for the chaos caused by the events since Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss’s economic plan was announced.

The markets were spooked by Kwarteng’s £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts last month, which caused the pound to drop to a historic low against the dollar and forced the Bank of England to intervene in the gilt market to prevent a “self-reinforcing spiral”.

An embarrassing U-turn on the government’s plans to scrap the 45p rate of income tax for higher earners also contributed to Labour enjoying its strongest performance in the opinion polls for more than 20 years. The Tories’ average poll rating dropped to just 24 per cent on the day of Truss’s speech at the Tory party conference, 26 percentage points behind Labour.

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Zahawi and Morgan had a fiery exchange on Question Time, with the presenter saying: “What I haven’t heard from any of you at senior level in this party in the last 10 days is one word, sorry – sorry to the country for what you have put the country through. Do you want to say it?”

Zahawi answered: “Liz [Truss] said ‘I’ve listened and I get it’, which is why 95 per cent of her economic policy, of her growth plan, she wanted to protect and she will deliver, and the 5 per cent which was damaging she cut, you cut and you move forward.”

Morgan interrupted: “It’s one word, and I think the public would value an apology.”

Zahawi then took the unexpected step of referencing the war in Ukraine, sparking laughter in the audience.

“Ask yourself this question, what would Vladimir Putin want us to do? He would want us to be divided right now because he’s using energy…”

The comments were laughed at on Thursday's episodeBBC/Getty

“You can’t say sorry because Vladimir Putin would like it?” Morgan replied.

Host Fiona Bruce then told the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: “Nadhim, people are laughing at that, I just want to point that out.”

Finally, after being pushed against by Morgan, Zahawi said he was indeed sorry.

“Of course, I’m sorry, absolutely,” he said.

“By the way, there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I get it, I’ve listened, and I’ve acted, and 95 per cent of what I want to do I’m going to deliver, and I’ll drop the 5 per cent', that’s a good thing.”

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