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Two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet were privately educated, research says

Research suggests the proportion of former independent school pupils in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is nearly twice that of Theresa May’s in 2016.

64% of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet attended private schools (Aaron Chown/PA)
64% of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet attended private schools (Aaron Chown/PA)

Nearly two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s first Cabinet were privately educated, research suggests.

The proportion of former independent school pupils is higher than David Cameron’s 2015 top team and nearly twice Theresa May’s in 2016, the Sutton Trust said.

The social mobility charity said the new Prime Minister’s Cabinet highlights how unevenly spread opportunities are to “enter the elites”.

Around 7% of school children in the UK go to fee-paying schools, meaning Cabinet ministers are currently nine times more likely to have been privately educated than the rest of the population.

Mr Johnson’s Cabinet consists of 64% former private school pupils, compared to 50% in his fellow Eton alumni Mr Cameron’s 2015 Cabinet, the research says.

Mrs May’s 2016 proportion was said to stand at 30%.

Sutton Trust founder Sir Peter Lampl said: “Britain is an increasingly divided society. Divided by politics, by class, by geography. Social mobility, the potential for those to achieve success regardless of their background, remains low.

“Addressing this must be at the heart of our new Prime Minister’s tenure in Downing Street.

“The make-up of Johnson’s cabinet underlines once again how unevenly spread the opportunities are to enter the elites.”

Three of the four ministers in great offices of state – Chancellor Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel – were state educated.

And the research suggests a marked improvement from Tory precedents with Margaret Thatcher’s rating at 91% in 1979 and John Major’s at 71% in 1992.

Labour’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had proportions at 32% while Clement Attlee’s first Cabinet in 1945 was comprised of 25% of privately educated ministers.

Elite further institution attendance is also disproportionate in Mr Johnson’s top team, with 45% of those attending Cabinet meetings having gone to Oxford or Cambridge University.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said it was clear Mr Johnson is running a Government “of the few, by the few, for the few”.

“It’s no surprise that the Tories have failed to honour their pledge to rethink the tax loopholes that benefit private schools, and Johnson instead plans yet another giveaway for the super rich instead,” the Labour MP said.

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