Theresa May’s Cabinet a triumph for state education and women as new Prime Minister sweeps away Cameron favourites in ‘Day of the Long Knives’
Posted on July 14th, 2016

Courtesy The Telegraph

Theresa May on Thursday unveiled a Cabinet with more state educated ministers than any previous Conservative government.

The new Prime Minister’s Cabinet is 70 per cent state educated, with Justine Greening on Thursday becoming the first Education Secretary to have attended a comprehensive school.

It means Mrs May’s Government has the lowest proportion of privately educated ministers since Clement Attlee’s Labour post-war Government of 1945. The Prime Minister herself is state educated.

In a further sign of the sweeping changes Mrs May is making, she now also has the most women in her Cabinet of any previous Conservative administration.

Theresa May’s Cabinet | Gender split

Male MPs 31%

Female MPs 69%

Matching Tony Blair’s record of eight female MPs in top Government jobs, Mrs May promoted women including Ms Greening, Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary, and Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary.

Backbenchers and ministers said that it shows Mrs May’s desire to make a clean break from the previous administration, led by David Cameron and George Osborne, and deliver on her pledge not to govern just for the privileged few”. One MP described it as a Cabinet of sheer talent”.

Mr Cameron’s 2015 Cabinet was 50 per cent privately educated. Just over 70 per cent of ministers in Sir John Major’s Cabinet went to independent schools and 91 per cent of Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 Cabinet were privately educated. Mrs May’s Cabinet has also fewer independently educated ministers than either those of Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.

Theresa May’s cabinet | State v Independent schools

State educated MPs 63%
Privately educated MPs 37%
During her two-day reshuffle, Mrs May sacked 10 of Mr Cameron’s closest allies. She fired Michael Gove as Justice Secretary, Oliver Letwin as Cabinet Office minister, Nicky Morgan as Education Secretary and John Whittingdale as Culture Secretary.

That came after Mrs May on Wednesday evening sacked Mr Osborne as Chancellor, telling him he was not wanted in her new Government. On Thursday five more ministers, including Theresa Villiers and Greg Hands, were removed from the Cabinet during what was described as the Day of the Long Knives”, in reference to the Night of the Long Knives” in 1962, when Harold Macmillan dismissed seven members of his Cabinet.

It was her decision to create a Cabinet of predominantly state educated ministers that was seen as the most defining aspect of Mrs May’s first reshuffle.

Robert Halfon MP, one of the prime movers behind the blue collar Tory initiative, hailed Mrs May for appointing so many of her senior team with a background in state education. He said: Her Cabinet reflects her speech on the steps of Downing Street which is to be a Britain that works for everyone and real people that reflect Britain.”

In her first speech as Prime Minister on Wednesday, Mrs May vowed to fight against burning injustice” in Britain and build a country that works for everyone”. She said that her Government will no longer entrench the advantages of the fortunate few”.

May: I will lead a ‘One Nation’ governmentPlay!05:47

 According to an analysis by the Sutton Trust, 44 per cent of Mrs May’s Cabinet were educated in comprehensive schools.

Mr Cameron’s 2015 Cabinet was 43 per cent comprehensive educated. Just 21 per cent of his 2010 coalition administration was comprehensive-school educated.

However, Cabinet ministers are still over four times more likely to have gone to a fee-paying school for all or part of their secondary education than the general population, the Sutton Trust said.

Of the 27 ministers in Mrs May’s new Cabinet, 44 per cent went to Oxford or Cambridge universities.

This compares with 32 per cent of backbench Conservative MPs in the 2015 parliament, and 26 per cent of MPs from all parties. Half of the 2010 Coalition cabinet led by Mr Cameron was Oxbridge-educated.

Robert Buckland, the solicitor general who was state educated until the age of 11, said This is a brilliant reflection of today’s Conservative party. It is yet another endorsement of her strong belief in opportunity for all and succeeding on merit.”

Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP, tweeted her endorsement of Mrs May’s appointments:

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: Anyone should be able to become a minister, regardless of social background. It is good to see so many more comprehensive and grammar educated Cabinet ministers, reflecting the schools attended by 90 per cent of children.”

The eight posts held by females in the new Cabinet include Mrs May herself. In Mr Cameron’s last Cabinet seven women held permanent positions, while a further three attended occasionally.

Ms Greening, who last month came out as a lesbian, was one of the most notable appointments, becoming Education Secretary and minister for equalities.

Greening replaces Morgan as Education SecretaryPlay!00:32

Liz Truss, the former Environment Secretary, was elevated to Justice Secretary following Mr Gove’s sacking.

Mrs May also appointed Andrea Leadsom, her former leadership rival, to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a significant promotion for the pro-Brexit MP.

Amid the sackings, Mrs May decided to keep Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary despite rumours that he was going to lose his job. David Lidington, the former Europe minister who spearheaded Mr Cameron’s failed campaign to keep Britain in the European Union, was also promoted to Leader of the House of Commons in the reshuffle.

Mrs May also appointed a number of allies to senior roles. Damian Green, a contemporary of Mrs May’s at Oxford University, was made Work and Pensions Secretary.

Karen Bradley, a former minister in the Home Office under Mrs May, was made Culture Secretary.

Karen Bradley takes over as Culture SecretaryPlay!00:27

Greg Clark was appointed to the new role of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, while his old role at the head of the Department for Communities and Local Government went to former business secretary Sajid Javid, in an effective job-swap.

David Mundell, the only Conservative MP north of the border, retained his position as Scotland Secretary. Mrs May’s new Cabinet will officially meet for the first time next week.

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said the reshuffle shows her administration is hitting the ground running” and that social reform is at the heart of the Government”.

Mrs May on Thursday night unveiled details of her team of special advisers.

Two long term aides – Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy – were appointed joint chiefs of staff.  John Godfrey is the new director of policy and Katie Perrior is director of communications.


12 Responses to “Theresa May’s Cabinet a triumph for state education and women as new Prime Minister sweeps away Cameron favourites in ‘Day of the Long Knives’”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    President Sirisena should take a note of this development

    It is high time that we should get rid of Royalists from the cabinet high posts and appoint Maha Vidyalaya chaps to get proper work done for the country.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Hooray for Mrs Theresa May!

    A British govt of NUSUDUSU Britons, by NUSUDUSU Britons, for NUSUDUSU Britons!

    BTW, 95% of British people are NUSUDUSU people.

  3. S.Gonsal Says:

    What NeelaMahaYoda is absolutely true.

    Wickremasinghe have this inferiority complex as he pass exams those days with the help of his friends and without “Royalists” he is scared to do anything.
    Look at who are there.
    1. Army Commander
    2. CB Governor
    3. BOI Chairman
    … many more.

    Recent fight in Kandy saw a Royalists criminal abusing a Trinitian doctor Namal (residing in UK) who serves his motherland ( although he appears to be a UNP supporter, he valued his Sri Lankan culture and mentioned Sri Lanka is a “Buddhist” country without fear.

    Actually Trinitians and Thomians are much better in recognising themselves as Sinhalese ( and Buddhists if they are). They are “grown up” people compared to Royalists. This is my opinion.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    What NeelaMahaYoda says is certainly true for the current lot of Royalists in politics – absolute waste.

    Most of them are responsible for the mess we are in right now. We need a better set of leaders.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Yes, Lanka certainly needs proven trustworthy and able leaders, not the present day types who flings mud on their own heroes and discredits the nation at every turn, whilst downing the Central Bank to stuff their own pockets for 30 yrs to come !

  6. Ratanapala Says:

    You all forget that Aappaya is a “Royalist” from Polonnaruwa!

  7. Sirih Says:

    Patriot are train at home and not at schools… You cannot blame Royalist since it is the Colombo mind set that create unpatriotic thinking.
    Good Sinhalese families will always protect their children and train them to become good citizens.
    I went to elite schools in SL and UK but never forgot our family heritage and always went to see late head priest Dr Saddhathissa on Sundays at London Chiswick temple.
    My twin daughters are born in London and follow the Buddhist way even though they went to elite schools in London and Sydney and have senior VP positions in British bank.. This is all come from the father and mother and relations, so pls. don’t blame schools.

  8. Sooriarachi Says:

    I hope Theresa May is giving ministerial posts to deserving persons based on merit rather than on other attributes like race and which school they went to.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Some thoughts on the past & present times in Sri Lanka, in relation to Britain, Europe & INDIA :

    Nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation has brought about the Colombo thinking, as well as the Delhi thinking for INDIA.

    Cold War/s & Tamil Separatists wars have done the rest, and the conversions in Colombo are near complete !

    Two world wars came out of impoverished Europe. Socialist govts came out of Europe after WW I&II – even Britain is a welfare state. Thus, Theresa May is PM there today.
    How come these rights are being denied to Sri Lanka and the country is being forced into some kind of ‘Capitalism first’ thinking ? After all, it is the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, isn’t it ? Are we going backwards into some kind of earlier rejected past ….. if so, how do we work with that ?

    Aren’t there new ideas on how to run Capitalism alongside Socialism ? After WWI&II, and the defeat of Germany, Pres Harry Truman & his team wrote the new constitution for Germany, and included various clauses to bring in the workers in the large enterprises. Any enterprise with over 2,000 employees had to have 51% worker representation on their Board of Directors, and this ensured smooth running of businesses and hardly any internal dissent in the country. Germany grew and flourished after the two world wars. However, Pres. Truman was not able to put into law the same rules in America.

    As an example – some thoughts on cost cutting in the Tea Industry : It is the tea industry that brings in the Tamil Dalit labor into the country from colonial British times, and the Tamil population in Lanka with a large number of Tamil illegal migrants are being used by Tamil leaders (Vadukoddai Resoln. 1976) and vested interests to destabilise and break up Lanka with a demand of a separate state, Tamil Eelam. Tamils have been encouraged to fight their Caste war coming from Tamil Nadu, in Sri Lanka – the anger is unleashed in Lanka, even though Tamils have all the rights others in Lanka have and there is no Caste stamped in their birth certificates, setting them free of the Caste binds. It is high time the Tea industry is mechanised in Lanka and tea plucking done with tea machines as done in China, Parts of INDIA, Japan, S. Africa, etc. One machines can replace 4 workers, and the need for cheap labor from Tamil Nadu will stop/drop as anyone can operate the tea leaf plucking machines.

    There are many other ideas to save Lanka, while working in so called ‘Capitalist mode’. Let us make the best use of any system imposed on Lanka.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Some of my friends have suggested the following ideas :

    * Lease out Trinco Harbour to USA/UK.

    * The other approach needed is to keep to a balanced Man : Land ratio, or even the Socialism : Captalism ratio, is for govts everywhere to give FREE birth control material. It is far kinder to do that than have wars, Fascism, Communism and other forms of governance thwarting progress of mankind.

    * Also introduce Meditation (Vipassana bhavana) to schools and other establishments that request same.

  11. S.Gonsal Says:

    What is the point of forcing “Vipassana bhavana” to students ?
    How do you know they are doing it ? Is there a sensor that can be attached to brain to measure it ?

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    S. Gonsal,

    No one can force anyone to do any type of Meditation. It has to be entirely voluntary. The beauty of Meditation must be presented to all people, and the benefits listed clearly in all 3 languages used in Lanka. People have lost the reverence for the core teachings of all religions. It is time we reclaimed what is rightfully ours.

    The benefits of Meditation are many. Vipassana Bhavana which is just one type of Meditation is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in modern Psychology. It promotes mental balance and physical awareness and wellbeing. We have lost the Bhavana of Dhana/Seela/Bhavana in Theravada Buddhism. It is time to regain our lost heritage. Call it any name – as they say, a rose by any other name, would smell as sweet.

    It is not enough to believe something (say, as Jesus Christ said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within You”); one must KNOW the Reality as a Direct Experience, and not just believe.

    The Buddha said “Truth is within You”.
    Islam means “Peace”.

    All the religions come together in the Great Within – YOU.

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