Report Overview


The Sutton Trust analysed the educational background of Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, finding that almost two-thirds received a private education and half went to Oxbridge.


Almost two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s cabinet went to private school.


How much more likely cabinet ministers are to have gone to a private school.


Half the new cabinet went to Oxbridge.

Key findings
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of Boris Johnson’s cabinet received a private education.
  • A quarter (27%) went to a comprehensive and 8% attended a grammar school.
  • This proportion of alumni of independent schools attending cabinet is similar to Johnson’s previous cabinet (64%). However it is more than twice that of Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet (30%), slightly more than Cameron’s 2015 cabinet (50%) and the same as the 2010 coalition cabinet (62%).
  • The proportion of independently educated ministers attending Cabinet is less than earlier cabinets under Conservative Prime Ministers, John Major (71% in 1992) and Margaret Thatcher (91% in 1979). Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both had 32% of those attending cabinet privately educated, while 25% of Clement Attlee’s first cabinet had been privately educated.
  • Members of the cabinet are over nine times more likely to have gone to an independent school than the general population.
  • Of the 26 ministers attending Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, half (50%) went to Oxford or Cambridge universities. This compares with 27% of all Conservative MPs, 18% of Labour MPs and 24% of all MPs.
  • A further 8% of Johnson’s cabinet were educated at other Russell Group universities (excluding Oxbridge).
  • 31% of the new cabinet went through a ‘pipeline’ from fee-paying schools to Oxbridge.