Tory Lawmaker Share From Private Schools, Oxford, Cambridge Down

The U.K. general election has sent the proportion of Conservative lawmakers educated at private schools and Oxford or Cambridge universities to the lowest in decades.

Forty-eight percent of Tories in the House of Commons went to a fee-paying school, compared with three quarters in 1979, the Sutton Trust said in a research note. Thirty-four percent attended Oxford or Cambridge universities. Both shares have probably never been lower, according to the trust, which campaigns for social mobility.

There are 74 new Conservative party lawmakers, according to a list compiled by the ConservativeHome website. Prime Minister David Cameron won a surprise victory on May 7, gaining 331 parliamentary districts, enough for the Tories to govern without the need for coalition partners.

Cameron himself has faced criticism for being out of touch with ordinary voters. He attended Eton College, the 34,000-pound ($53,000) a year boarding school near London that has educated 19 British prime ministers. The Sutton Trust estimates almost 10 percent of privately educated lawmakers went to Eton.

At Oxford, Cameron, 48, was a member of the Bullingdon Club, a male-only student dining society, along with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Cameron promoted several state-educated lawmakers to his Cabinet on Monday including Anna Soubry, Sajid Javid and Greg Clark.

There are twice as many state-educated ministers in the cabinet than in the one Cameron appointed in 2010, the Sutton Trust said in a separate report. Half the new Cabinet went to Oxbridge, compared with 26 percent of all House of Commons lawmakers.

Among Labour lawmakers elected last week, 23 percent were educated at Oxford or Cambridge and 17 percent went to private schools, higher than at any point in more than three decades, the Sutton Trust said. None of the 56 Scottish National Party lawmakers for whom information is available attended Oxbridge.

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