Suella Braverman, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng (Photo: Getty)
Liz Truss’ new cabinet has been widely praised for its diversity, but there is still one group which is under-represented.
A large majority of the newly-appointed ministers are privately-educated.
In booting out almost everyone who supported Rishi Sunak while rewarding her most loyal supporters, Truss’ new government is the first in UK history not to have a white man holding one of the “great offices of state”.
This is usually defined as the foreign secretary (now James Cleverly), the home secretary (Suella Braverman) and the chancellor of the Exchequer (now Kwasi Kwarteng).
Cleverly’s mother is from Sierra Leone, Braverman’s parents have Indian heritage while Kwarteng has familial links to Ghana.
Truss herself is only the third ever female prime minister, and went to a co-educational comprehensive school.
But, amid all the progress this represents, there’s still a shortage of ministers who are not from wealthy backgrounds.
Politics professor for Queen Mary’s University, Tim Bale, also tweeted: “It’s maybe worth noting that Kwarteng, Cleverly, and Braverman were all privately-educated. Fact is that, nowadays, the real lack of diversity in parliament is class-based.”
Folk (including @BBCr4today) are (rightly!) celebrating diversity in the 'great offices of state'. But it's maybe worth noting that Kwarteng, Cleverly, and Braverman were all privately-educated. Fact is that, nowadays, the real lack of diversity in Parliament is class-based. pic.twitter.com/rfzMHpHloB
— Tim Bale (@ProfTimBale) September 7, 2022
Kwarteng went to the highly elite school of Eton College (along with newly appointed business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg) which charges around £46,000 a year.
Cleverly went to the private Colfe’s School and Braverman went to a girls’ independent school, Heathfield School. The annual fees for all of these schools stretch into the thousands.
New health secretary and deputy prime minister Therese Coffey also went to St Mary’s College, a fee-paying independent school.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace, levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, Alok Sharma, president for Cop26, all went to private schools as well, as did armed forces minister James Heappey, to name just a few of Truss’ most senior ministers.
According to Open Democracy, 68% of Truss’ cabinet are privately educated.
And, like every prime minister since 1937 who went to university, aside from Gordon Brown, Truss studied at the University of Oxford.
Kwarteng and Braverman went to Cambridge University. Like Oxford, it’s often criticised for its focus on the privately-educated, although it’s worth pointing out that there is a wider mix of universities among other ministers, including Cleverly who went to University of West London.
Labour’sDavid Lammy also praised the make-up of Truss’ cabinet, and focused on the ethnic diversity.
He said: “It is not a partisan issue at all, it goes to the heart of the country we want to be.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.