At a press conference on 17 December announcing a new Cabinet after the election, Boris Johnson said “we are a people’s government.” As it stands, this statement is virtually meaningless. In our democracy, all governments are elected by the people and are therefore people’s governments. Johnson was therefore suggesting that his new ministry was socially and economically representative of the British people. In fact, it was less representative than his last one and those of his Conservative predecessors.
His reshuffle saw the number of state-educated ministers actually decrease by two. Of the 24 strong cabinet, 17 at the time were privately educated. This was 65% of the cabinet, compared with 7% of the population.
Of the 26 ministers attending the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, 50 per cent also attended either Oxford or Cambridge.
The proportion of alumni of independent schools in Mr Johnson’s last cabinet stood at 64 percent – more than twice that of the team assembled by Theresa May in 2016. The figure is also higher than David Cameron’s cabinet in 2015, where 50 per cent had attended fee-paying schools.
Boris Johnson’s claim was misleading even by the low standards of political propaganda.