Rishi Sunak's Cabinet Has A Problem With Class, According To These Stats

It's hardly representative of the country as a whole.
Rishi Sunak's newly formed cabinet featured ministers from both his predecessors' governments
Rishi Sunak's newly formed cabinet featured ministers from both his predecessors' governments
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has reshuffled the cabinet, but he seems to have the same issue Liz Truss had – a lack of class diversity.

The new prime minister is the UK’s first British Asian leader, a moment which has been celebrated around the world.

However, the criticism around Sunak’s class privilege and personal wealth is unlikely to die down now he has appointed his cabinet members.

According to The Sutton Trust, 61% of his inner circle went to private school – compared to around 7% of the country, and around 41% of current Tory MPs in the House of Commons.

The social mobility charity also found 32% went through a pipeline from private school straight to Oxford or Cambridge University, the top two universities in the country.

Its analysis also found they were nearly nine times more likely to have gone to an independent school than the general population, with only 23% going to a comprehensive and 13% going to a grammar school.

Sunak, chancellor Jeremy Hunt and deputy PM and justice secretary Dominic Raab all went to Oxford University.

This is not unusual, as 30 of the UK’s 57 prime ministers so far have gone to this university over the decades.

But, there are more than 160 universities across the country – and not everyone goes to university either.

Around 27% of all Tory MPs, 18% of Labour MPs and 21% of all MPs went to Oxford or Cambridge.

And, while his predecessor Truss was praised for appointing the most diverse cabinet ever, she also had a high number of privately-educated people working in the top jobs.

For the first time, Truss’s cabinet included no white men in the “great offices of state” – the foreign secretary, chancellor and home secretary.

But, according to Open Democracy, 68% of Truss’s cabinet were privately educated.

The prime minister has been heavily criticised for his class too, particularly over the last year.

Sunak himself did not go to Eton College – in fact, none of his senior cabinet members did, unlike former PM Boris Johnson – but he did go to fee-paying public school in Hampshire called Winchester College.

It now costs £45,934 to board there for an entire year, although prices may have been substantially different when Sunak attended in the 1990s.

He told Sky News in April this year: “It was an amazing opportunity.”

He added: “I look back on that time, it’s helped make me who I am as a person. I’m sure it helps do the job [of chancellor] in the way I do it.”

He and his wife Akshata Murty donated more than £100,000 to the school.

The couple allegedly have a combined fortune of around £730 million, approximately twice the wealth of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, who are said to have around £300-£350 million.

Sunak was also the first ever frontline politician to ever be included in The Sunday Times Rich List of the UK’s wealthiest, and almost competed with the monarch in terms of the number of residences he owns.

He is the richest ever occupant of No.10 – and the public know that only too well.

A poll from Savanta Group found “Rich” was the most common word used among the public to describe Sunak, followed by the more flattering adjectives, “good”, “capable”, “clever” and “okay”.

Sunak is also known for a viral clip dating back to 2001, where he starred on a BBC show called Middle Classes: Their Rise & Sprawl.

In the seven-second video which went viral in the summer, Sunak says: ’I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper-class, I have friends who are working class – well, not working class.”

He later told Channel 4 that “we all say silly things when we are students”.


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