Last week Boris Johnson's younger brother Jo was appointed universities and science minister, recapturing the brief he held from 2015 to 2018. His appointment raised some eyebrows, mainly because only eight months ago he resigned from May’s government so he could back a second referendum, and issued a stark warning about the ‘untold damage’ that no deal would inflict on the country. Boris’s elevation to Number 10 seems to have resulted in his change of heart.
But while Brexit is likely to take up a significant amount of the new universities minister's time, Jo faces an equally important struggle to restore universities to their intended function as bastions of free speech. A creeping culture of intolerance, ‘no-platforming’, ‘safe spaces’ and disruptive protesting at universities has even led figures such as Sir Roger Scruton to suggest that they should all be scrapped.