Jo johnson

Boris Johnson suffers his first resignation from around the Cabinet table – from his brother

Boris Johnson has suffered his first resignation from around the Cabinet table – and it’s from his brother Jo. Jo Johnson has announced via social media that he will be stepping down both as a minister and an MP. The Minister of State for universities and science said that in recent weeks, he had felt ‘torn between family loyalty and the national interest’. ‘It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minister under three PMs. In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest – it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as

Who’s to blame for my terrible journey?

Look out. Here comes a column banging on about something that, in the grand scheme of things, really doesn’t matter. But I’ve just turned 70 and surely among the compensations for old age must be the right to have a jolly good grumble from time to time. Mine, here, will be about the new hard train seats. ‘They feel like sitting on an ironing board,’ passengers are complaining. Since the beginning of last year, and all over the country, rail operating companies have been rolling out (hallelujah! — a chance to use this ghastly expression entirely appropriately) a new kind of railway carriage. First it was Thameslink; then it was

Jo Johnson’s ministerial move is the latest in a strange reshuffle

Jo Johnson hasn’t had the best week. He’s spent most of it defending the decision to appoint Toby Young to the advisory board of the Office for Students – and was doing so yesterday afternoon, just hours before Young resigned. Now Johnson has been moved to the Transport department, and with an additional post as Minister for London. This is the latest strange move in a strange reshuffle. Johnson set up the Office for Students and had been making headlines over his confrontations with university vice chancellors over pay and free speech. He was also the minister who took the legislation setting up the new Office for Students through Parliament.

A sound industrial strategy and stronger banks. What could go wrong?

One week you’re fighting to survive the dance-off amid vicious backstage rivalries, the next you’re scoring a perfect ten from Bruno Tonioli for your shimmering tango. As it was on Strictly for Debbie McGee, so it was — well, almost — for Philip Hammond at the despatch box. Unlike many of the Budgets of his predecessors Osborne and Brown, this one did not unravel immediately or prove full of black holes and political tricks. Clear in its analysis, frank in its forecasts, limited in its objectives, it took modest steps to ease the housing crisis and encourage entrepreneurs — and not much else. But it was enough to be hailed

David Cameron’s official biographer tips Jo Johnson for No 10: ‘it’s BoJo vs JoJo’

Although the weekend papers were filled with stories of MPs plotting to loosen the Treasury’s purse strings, there were some whisperings of who ought to succeed Theresa May. While Boris Johnson is still widely regarded as the frontrunner, it is actually his brother Jo who is destined for No 10? Mr S only asks after Sir Anthony Seldon – who has written books about the past five British prime ministers – tipped the MP for Orpington as the Johnson to watch. Speaking at the Higher Education festival, David Cameron’s official biographer said that the new story is ‘BoJo vs JoJo’, with the latter ‘definitely Prime Ministerial material’: You heard it here 1st. Forget Ed v

Theresa May’s new ministry of posh

Apart from Boris, where have all the posh boys (and girls) gone in Theresa May’s government? The answer, curiously, is the new department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Secretary of state Greg Clark is impeccably classless, being the product of a Roman Catholic secondary school in Middlesbrough where his father and grandfather were milkmen. But his ministerial team consists of three Old Etonians — Nick Hurd, Jo Johnson and Jesse Norman — plus Margot James (Millfield) and convent girl Baroness Neville-Rolfe. Reassuringly, however, all five have business experience — and more so than Clark himself, who has quietly climbed the greasy pole as an all-purpose policy wonk. Ex-civil-servant Lucy

Jo Johnson backs Boris

Jo Johnson has declared his support for his brother’s leadership bid. In a statement to The Spectator, the minister for universities and science says: ‘Boris and I were on different side of a hard fought referendum campaign. But it is time to move on, time to unite and time to deliver. I have known my brother for longer than anyone in parliament. He is the great communicator—and I have no doubt at all that he is the person best placed not just to secure a new settlement for Britain in Europe but also to provide the optimistic, confident and outward-looking leadership we will need in months and years to come.’

Jo Johnson on the debate dividing the nation: ‘it’s brother against brother’

While Boris Johnson is firmly behind the Out campaign in the EU referendum, his father Stanley, sister Rachel and brother Jo are all backing Remain. So, has the difference in opinion led to any family conflict? Last night at a French embassy Jo — the minister for science and universities —  appeared at first to hint at such problems. He gave a speech, which he began in French, on the great row now gripping the nation and tearing families apart: ‘Everybody must declare their position. Families are divided; brother against brother… I speak of course of the crucial debate for the French language; whether or not to abandon the circumflex.’ Johnson went on

Oxford’s diversity strategy: portraits of privileged white women replace portraits of privileged white men

It’s been a testing few weeks for Oxford University officials. First they faced a student uprising with the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign, then the Prime Minister took a pop at the academic establishment for a lack of diversity, claiming they are ‘not doing enough to attract talent from across our country’. Happily, one college is doing its best to tackle diversity issues head-on. Wadham College have commissioned a series of photographic portraits of graduates who have been nominated by members of the Wadham community. The aim is to ‘address the predominance in Hall and around College of portraits of white men’: ‘These are grand figures from Wadham’s past and they deserve their

Another day, another Johnson comes out for the In campaign

Although David Cameron has said he will allow ministers a free vote on the EU referendum, only a handful of cabinet ministers have so far taken the plunge and declared themselves to be ‘Outers’. While Boris Johnson had at one point been tipped to lead the Out campaign, the Mayor of London has remained rather quiet on the matter of late. However, if his family’s movements are anything to go by, he may well be preparing to get behind the Prime Minister on the matter. This week two members of the Johnson clan have suggested that they wish to remain in the EU. First, Jo Johnson — the Minister for Universities and Science — indicated in an article

Jo Johnson takes aim at those who ‘coast within the 2.1 band’

This morning Jo Johnson gave a speech in which he outlined his recommendations for the way in which universities grade students. The new science and universities minister suggested that they rethink the current honours system and instead have a ‘dual running’ with regards degree classifications and grade point averages. If his idea does become a reality and there is less of a focus on degree classifications, Mr S suspects it will be music to the ears of Jo’s siblings, Boris and Rachel. Jo was the only one of the three to achieve a first class degree from Oxford, an achievement which was reportedly a cause of envy for Boris, who along with his sister Rachel, only managed

Cameron orders a re-write of the Tory manifesto

I understand that David Cameron has ordered a re-write of the Tory manifesto. Jo Johnson and the Number 10 policy unit, which he heads, had written and submitted a first draft of the manifesto to Cameron. But word has come back that Cameron feels that the tone is not right. As I say in my Mail on Sunday column, he wants a less wonky document. He thinks the document needs a crisper, more political style. The Tory aide Richard Parr has been charged with re-writing it. Parr learned his political trade under Andrew Mitchell and is regarded as having sharp instincts. Cameron is also a fan of his writing. But

Dame Vivienne Westwood and model Alice Dellal told to frack off by Guido Fawkes gang

Mr S was in one of Westminster’s finest watering holes last night to toast Guy Fawkes. And who better to do it with than his old muckers from Guido Fawkes, who had whacked a hefty wodge of cash behind the bar in honour of their patron saint. The guest list was terribly exclusive: Jo Johnson, Buzzfeed’s Jim Waterson, and various libertarians from the Adam Smith Institute made the cut, but Dame Vivienne Westwood and the heiress model Alice Dellal were turned away. The pair disappeared off into the night to join the gaggle of Anonymous protesters getting their hemp knickers in a twist about fracking/Julian Assange/capitalism. But given that Dellal’s grandfather was British property tycoon ‘Black

David Cameron and Nick Clegg move like sharks to keep the coalition going

If a shark stops moving it dies. In the Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister’s office, they believe that the same applies to the coalition. Their view is that if it is going to make it to 2015, it needs to be doing things right up until parliament is dissolved and the election called. To this end, as I reveal in the column this week, they’ve commissioned Oliver Letwin, David Laws and Jo Johnson to sit down and see what else the coalition can do between now and 2015. One of those involved in the talks says ‘we’re pretty confident we can still do deals on various things.’ The hope

Downing Street’s class divide

Last week I chided those in SW1 who were criticising David Cameron for appointing yet more Old Etonians to his staff without first checking their own teams for signs of blue blood. Now news reaches me that Downing Street has not done much to counter the original charge. Etonian stereotypes were alive and well during Jo Johnson’s first meeting with the government’s special advisers. A humble state educated aide could not help but notice that all the OEs gravitated to one side of the table. ‘Jo Jo’ was joined by Cameron’s chief-of-staff Ed Llewellyn. And when Rupert Harrison, the chancellor’s brain, entered the room, he was drawn to the ‘right side’. It

No 10’s outreach programme mustn’t leave underused MPs scratching their heads

David Cameron is really trying to reach out to his party at the moment. The announcements of a policy board of MPs and a policy chief who is also an MP were intended to show that it’s not just the inner circle that calls the shots. Jo Johnson appears to have received a bigger promotion than initially announced: today’s Sun reports he’s not just leading on policy, he’s also taking over from Oliver Letwin in writing the manifesto. But appointing Chris Lockwood to the policy unit has added to the impression that the PM really trusts his friends and those who hail from the same social circle. He did, after

Cameron keeps his friends close, but now he’s drawing his MPs closer

David Cameron and the Tory party appear to be emerging from a period of marriage counselling that has gone particularly well. The leader is making more of an effort with his backbenchers generally (James examines this in his column tomorrow), and tomorrow’s papers bring yet more news of reconciliation. The Prime Minister is beefing up his political policy operation by appointing a panel of bright and impressive MPs to help him, and promoting Jo Johnson to be his head of policy and a Cabinet Office minister. Those MPs aren’t just impressive, though: some of them, including Jesse Norman and George Eustice, are also rebels. This is a big gesture to

Johnson and Johnson

Steerpike is back in today’s edition of The Spectator. Here is a sneak preview: ‘Stanley Johnson, replete with energy and charming as ever, is touring the country looking for a safe Tory berth to ease himself into at the next election. No takers so far, I’m told, but the wily old bird has devised a brilliant ruse to boost his chances. He’s been dropping hints that his occupancy would last only until May 2016, when Boris’s second mayoral term ends. Johnson Snr would then fall gracefully on his sword, leaving the seat vacant for the blond bombshell to launch his bid for the Tory leadership and Downing Street. The so-called