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Where and what did the new Cabinet study?

  • 26 July 2019

As the dust begins to settle after a historic reshuffle, we take a look at the new Cabinet and their higher education backgrounds. Our initial analysis reveals:

  • 91% went to university (one was at Sandhurst, one at Agricultural College)
  • Two thirds (67%) went to a Russell Group university
  • Nearly half (45%) were at Oxbridge (10 at Oxford and 5 at Cambridge)

The subject mix is firmly in favour of the humanities (57%) and social sciences (30%), with seemingly only one minister having studied a STEM subject, Alok Sharma, International Development Secretary, who studied Applied Physics.

Subject classifications are subjective and indicative only, for example Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree has been classified as a social science here. Full course details are listed below.

Job Name Undergraduate Degree at Subject Studied
Prime Minister Boris
Balliol College, Oxford Classics
Foreign Secretary Dominic
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford Law
Chancellor Sajid Javid University of Exeter Economics and Politics
Home Secretary Priti Patel Keele University Economics
Brexit Secretary Stephen
Peterhouse, Cambridge (after Sandhurst) History
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (Sandhurst)
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland University of Durham Law
Health Secretary Matt Hancock Exeter College, Oxford Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson University of Bradford Social Sciences
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss Merton College, Oxford Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom University of Warwick Political Science
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers University of Bristol Law
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Manchester Polytechnic Business and finance
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick St John’s College, Oxford History
International Development Secretary Alok Sharma University of Salford Applied Physics
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan St Hugh’s College, Oxford Jurisprudence
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd Edinburgh University History
Lords Leader Baroness Evans New Hall, Cambridge Social and Political Sciences
Scotland Secretary Alister Jack Heriot-Watt University Unknown
Wales Secretary Alun Cairns University of Wales, Newport Business Administration
Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith University of Birmingham English and History
Chairman James Cleverly Thames Valley University Hospitality Management
Minister of State for Home Department Brandon Lewis University of Buckingham Economics
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak Lincoln College, Oxford Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Chief Whip Mark Spencer (Shuttleworth Agricultural College)
Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox Downing College, Cambridge Law and Classics
Universities Minister Jo Johnson Balliol College, Oxford Modern History
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford English
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg Trinity College, Oxford History
Minister of State for Housing Esther McVey Queen Mary University of London Law
Paymaster-General Oliver Dowden Trinity College, Cambridge Law
Minister of State for Energy Kwasi Kwarteng Trinity College, Cambridge Classics and History
Minister of State for Cabinet Office Jake Berry Sheffield University Law

The above table is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of compiling.


  1. Tom Franklin says:

    It would be helpful to know how this compares historically with other post war cabinets

  2. Miss Donna Chadwick says:

    It’s a shame that Amber Rudd studied history but, if trends are concerned, will probably lead us back to the dark ages.

  3. Miss Donna Chadwick says:

    It’s a shame that Amber Rudd studied history and if trends are concerned will probably lead us back to the dark ages.

  4. Peter Gresswell says:

    I cannot see how the statistics add up, unless law is being treated as one of the humanities in this. A bit odd if it is.

  5. Paul Lawler says:

    Unlike gender imbalance, the lessons of CP Snow’s “two cultures” do not seem to have trickled down to the political classes. Less than 5% of the members of Cabinet have read a STEM subject to degree level. Cabinet’s understanding of scientific principles and risk analysis has been demonstrated most recently by the Corona epidemic. The consequences cannot be underestimated.

  6. Alastair Rosenschein says:

    Just one scientist. No wonder the Government is struggling to get to grips with this pandemic. How on Earth did we get to this appalling situation in a 21st Century British Cabinet made up solely of arts graduates. This is a cabinet almost totally void of any understanding of science and technology. This must change.

  7. Tony Richards says:

    In this time of crisis, the analytically trained minds of scientists should be in government. At present, there is only one science graduate in the cabinet, Alok Sharma. Why?

  8. Kate Campbell says:

    Are there any data on the subjects taken by Cabinet ministers’ at ‘A’ level?

  9. JJ says:

    Well it would seem that at least one will be able to solve a linear first order DE, state the heat capacity for water and draw a peptide bond or ozone. At the end of the day we may think we are in charge but:

    The world works by nature’s laws first and man’s second.

  10. David Jobson says:

    What about Therese Coffey
    Ph D in chemistry

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