Q&A: Do Cameron’s new ministers represent United Kingdom?

Prime Minister David Cameron hosts the first cabinet meeting with his new cabinet in Downing Street in London, following his General Election victory. (PA Wire)
Prime Minister David Cameron hosts the first cabinet meeting with his new cabinet in Downing Street in London, following his General Election victory. (PA Wire)
0
Have your say

David Cameron has named all 30 members of his first Cabinet as Prime Minister in a majority Conservative Government and stressed that he wants it to represent working people. But how representative of Britain are his ministers?

1. How many are women?

A third of the Cabinet (10) are women, fulfilling David Cameron’s aim to have a 70-30 gender split in his Government.

By contrast, Labour have an almost even gender split in the shadow cabinet, something the Prime Minister has previously said would be difficult to achieve for the Tories.

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd are among the high-profile promotions to Cabinet.

2. How many are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds?

There are only two ethnic minority Cabinet ministers, amounting to just 6.6% of its make-up and comparing unfavourably with the 14% of the British population who are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds. There are no black ministers in the Cabinet.

Priti Patel’s promotion to the role of Employment Minister makes her the first Indian-origin woman to become a Cabinet minister, while Sajid Javid was made the first Asian man to sit at the top table last year.

They follow fellow Tory and first-ever Asian Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi, whose parents are from Pakistan but who is no longer in Government.

3. How many were educated at private school?

Half went to private school, making Cabinet ministers seven times more likely to have gone to a fee-paying school than the general population, according to the Sutton Trust.

But the proportion of ministers who went to state school is increasing, and has doubled compared with five years ago when the coalition government formed.

It also represents progress within the party, with significantly fewer private school-educated Cabinet ministers than under the last two Conservative prime ministers - John Major (in 1992, 71% were privately educated) and Margaret Thatcher (in 1979, 91% had been to a fee-paying school).

Among the new entrants to Cabinet, Ms Soubry, Ms Patel and Chief Whip Mark Harper all attended comprehensive schools, while Treasury Chief Secretary Greg Hands went to a selective grammar school.

Ms Rudd, Minister without Portfolio Robert Halfon and Culture Secretary John Whittingdale all attended private school.

4. How many went to Oxbridge?

Just under half (14) were educated at either Oxford or Cambridge universities.

But all of those occupying traditionally the most important roles - Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond - attended Oxford University.

In total, 10 of the Cabinet attended Oxford, with Environment Secretary Liz Truss, Paymaster General Matthew Hancock, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Mr Harper joining the other four.

Cambridge can count four of its alumni in Cabinet - Communities Secretary Greg Clark, Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin, Commons Leader Chris Grayling and Mr Hands.

Former miner and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin did not go to university, and neither did Lords Leader Baroness Stowell.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith attended the Universita per Stranieri (university for foreigners) in Perugia, Italy, but did not gain any qualifications.

5. Which areas of Britain do they represent?

George Osborne is the only one who represents a northern constituency - Tatton - which could explain why the Chancellor has been the driving force behind the Tories’ ambitions for a so-called “northern powerhouse”.

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb in Preseli Pembrokeshire is the sole representative from a Welsh constituency, while Scottish Secretary David Mundell holds the Tories’ only seat in Scotland.

Nearly half the Cabinet (12) represent seats in the Conservative heartlands of the South East, while three work for constituents in London, five in the Midlands, three in the South West and two East Anglia.

The two peers in Cabinet do not represent constituencies because they sit in the House of Lords.