Boris Johnson re-appoints brother, Jo Johnson as universities minister
London, July 25, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Jo Johnson has returned to his former brief as universities and science minister, after his brother Boris Johnson took over as prime minister and appointed a new ministerial team.
Mr Johnson left the post in January 2018 under former prime minister Theresa May, after opposing her plans to introduce a major review of post-18 education, and subsequently resigned from government entirely in order to voice support for a second EU referendum.
He replaces Chris Skidmore, who had served as universities and science minister since 2018, and will attend cabinet.
In his time outside government, Jo Johnson continued to be a vocal opponent of the Augar review and its recommendations that university tuition fees be cut to £7,500, with replacement public funding weighted towards high-cost subjects or those with the greatest “social and economic value”.
His return to government will make him an influential force against implementation of the review’s recommendations on higher education funding, while universities will also welcome his return given his campaign for the return of post-study work visas.
A new prime minister and Cabinet more willing to countenance a no-deal Brexit will be alarming prospects for universities, which fear the consequences of such a move, in terms of wide-ranging impact on their operations and in specific aspects such as potentially ending their hopes of taking part in the EU’s research programme after Brexit.