The appointment of Liz Truss as prime minister means that the UK has its third female prime minister, as well as the most ethnically diverse cabinet in history.
For the first time, none of the big four state posts is held by a white man.
Aside from the Prime Minister, the three remaining high-level positions are held by people from ethnic minorities: Kwasi Kwarteng is the new chancellor, Suella Braverman the interior minister and James Cleverly the foreign minister.
Kwarteng is of Ghanaian descent, Braverman’s parents are of Indian descent, and Cleverly’s mother is from Sierra Leone.
The appointments were welcomed for these reasons, as the former race director no. 10, Samuel Kasumu The Guardian: “The new cabinet is another reminder that people from all backgrounds can go far within the Tory party.
“The challenge for us is to ensure that this diversity is reflected among those who vote for us. It will be the key to the party’s future success.”
However, many pointed out that there is a lack of diversity in the new team’s educational background at the heart of the government.
In the 31 new cabinet, 68% went to independent paid schools, meaning Truss’s top team has the highest percentage of privately educated ministers since John Major formed a government in 1992.
About 7% of the population as a whole is attending a private school in the UK.
Politics professor Tim Bale tweeted: “People celebrate (rightfully!) Diversity in ‘big state offices’.
“But perhaps it’s worth noting that Kwarteng, Cleverly and Braverman all had private educations.
“The fact is that, nowadays, the real lack of diversity in Parliament is classy.”
Watch: The new look of Liz Truss’s Cabinet meets for the first time
Furthermore, 35% of Truss’s cabinet attended Oxford or Cambridge universities compared to 1% of the population.
Sarah Atkinson, CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “We should celebrate the gender and ethnic diversity of the new government – brilliant.
“We must also note that 7% of the population has a private education, but about 30% of parliamentarians, 68% of the cabinet [are]. Class diversity is important. “
Truss spoke openly during the Tory leadership campaign about her state education at Roundhay School in Leeds, but said she was “disappointed” with her education.
She told Rishi Sunak: “The reason I am conservative is that I have seen the children of my school disappointed in Leeds, perhaps not having the opportunities that you had at your school, Rishi.”
Truss had previously criticized her education, saying in 2020: “As a middle school student in Leeds in the 1980s and 1990s, I was struck by the word service that was rendered to equality by the city council as children from disadvantaged backgrounds were disappointed.
“While they taught us about racism and sexism, there was too little time spent making sure everyone could read and write.”
A Sutton Trust research conducted in 2020 found that 30% of Theresa May’s cabinet went to independent schools, a figure that more than doubled when Johnson replaced her.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Labor Cabinets were made up of 32% privately educated ministers.
Half of Johnson’s cabinet also went to Oxford or Cambridge, with another 8% attending other Russell Group universities (excluding Oxbridge).