Jo Johnson

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Jo Johnson
File:Jo Johnson at British Museum.jpg
Minister of State for Universities and Science
Assumed office
11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Greg Clark (Universities, Science and Cities)
Minister of State for the Cabinet Office
In office
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Greg Clark
Succeeded by TBD
Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit
In office
25 April 2013 – 21 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Camilla Cavendish
Member of Parliament
for Orpington
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Majority 17,200 (35.2%)
Personal details
Born Joseph Edmund Johnson
(1971-12-23) 23 December 1971 (age 47)
London, United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Amelia Gentleman
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Religion Anglicanism

Joseph Edmund Johnson (born 23 December 1971) is a Conservative Party politician. He has been the member of parliament (MP) for Orpington since the general election in May 2010.[1] From April 2013 to May 2015, he was the Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, and became Minister of State for the Cabinet Office in July 2014. Following the May 2015 general election, he became the Minister for Universities and Science.[2]

Early life


Johnson's 8th great grandfather King George II.

Johnson is the youngest of four children born to former Conservative MEP Stanley Johnson and artist Charlotte Johnson Wahl (née Fawcett), the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barrister and president of the European Commission of Human Rights.

He is the younger brother of Boris, the Mayor of London; Rachel, a writer and journalist; and Leo, an entrepreneur and film-maker.[3]


He began his schooling in Brussels, at the European School in Uccle, before attending The Hall School in Hampstead, London, Ashdown House School in East Sussex, and then Eton College. In 1991, he went to Balliol College, Oxford to read Modern History. He was a Scholar at Balliol, edited Isis, the Oxford University student magazine, and was awarded a First Class degree in both Honour Moderations (June 1992) and Finals (Honour School, June 1994). While at Oxford, he was a member of the Bullingdon Club together with Harry Mount, Nat Rothschild and George Osborne,[4] with whom he remains a close friend.[5][6][7]

A fluent French speaker, he did postgraduate study on the continent and has degrees from two further European universities, gaining an MBA from INSEAD in 2000 and a licence spéciale with distinction in 1995 from the Institut d'Etudes Européennes at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he was a Wiener-Anspach Fellow.

Journalistic career

Johnson joined the Financial Times in 1997, after working as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank and had two foreign postings, as Paris correspondent (2001–05), and then as South Asia Bureau Chief based in New Delhi (2005–08).

Johnson then became an Associate Editor of the Financial Times and Head of the Lex Column, one of the most influential positions in British financial journalism.[8][9] Previous 'Heads of Lex' include Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Martin Taylor, former chief executive of Barclays Bank, and Richard Lambert, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry. Johnson left the Lex column in April 2010.

In April 2009, Johnson was named Foreign Journalist of the Year (Print) in India's leading media awards, the Indian Express Excellence in Journalism Awards. His books include the co-authored The Man Who Tried To Buy the World (Penguin, 2003),[10] about the French businessman Jean-Marie Messier which was published in France as Une faillite française by Albin Michel in 2002.

A regular commentator on radio and television,[11][12] he frequently speaks in public on the rise of India and the new world order, as well as on the UK political economy and financial affairs.

He has received awards from a range of organisations, including most recently the Foreign Press Association, the Society of Publishers in Asia and The Indian Express's 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Most recently he has co-edited, with Dr Rajiv Kumar (Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) Reconnecting Britain and India: Ideas for an Enhanced Partnership (Academic Foundation 2011).[13]

Political career

On 12 December 2009, Johnson was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Orpington from a shortlist of six contenders.[14] He won the seat, tripling the Conservative majority to over 17,000.[15]

Between May 2010 and September 2012, Johnson sat on the Public Accounts Committee, a select committee of the House of Commons, whose members are elected by other MPs to scrutinise government expenditures to ensure they are effective and represent value for money.

Between January 2012 and September 2012 Johnson served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mark Prisk, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise.[16] He was appointed as an Assistant Government Whip in September 2012.

On 25 April 2013, he was appointed by David Cameron as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (in addition to his role as an Assistant Government Whip) to help develop the next election's 2015 Tory manifesto with Minister for Policy Oliver Letwin. As a junior Cabinet Office minister, he headed the Policy Unit in the Prime Minister's Office,[17] and is assisted in this role by part-time adviser Steve Hilton and a newly created Conservative Parliamentary Advisory Board consisting of Tory MPs.

His appointment to head up the policy unit was seen as somewhat surprising as he was perceived as being more pro-European and left-leaning than most Conservatives.[18]

On 20 June 2013, he was reselected as the Conservative candidate for Orpington at the 2015 General Election. He was re-elected with a 57% share of the vote.

Minister for Universities and Science

On 11 May 2015, it was announced that Johnson had been appointed Minister for Universities and Science at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).[19][20] Writing about Johnson’s appointment for Times Higher Education, John Morgan noted: "Mr Johnson’s reputation as a pro-European is likely to please vice-chancellors, many of whom are concerned by the Tories’ pledge to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership by 2017. Universities UK has pointed out that British higher education institutions benefit from around £1.2 billion in European research funding each year."[21]

Personal life

Johnson lives in London with his wife, Amelia Gentleman, a journalist for The Guardian,[22] the daughter of artist and designer David Gentleman. They have two children.[20]


  1. "Election 2010: Orpington". BBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Jonathan Amos "", BBC News, 11 May 2015
  3. "Family of influence behind Boris Johnson". The Daily Telegraph. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "George's bully boys: Oozing entitlement, a young Osborne poses with Oxford's infamous Bullingdon Club in a newly discovered photo. But who were they?". Daily Mail. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Osborne and the Bullingdon Club, Take 2: New picture of the Chancellor in Oxford high society club emerges as student reveals 'George's friends locked me in Portaloo'". Daily Mail. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Johnson returns to roots as FT Lex column editor – Press Gazette
  9. Jo Johnson, Lex HQ (Video) | Facebook
  10. Daniel Gross "J'Accuse!", Slate, 6 August 2003
  11. Johnson reviews the Sunday papers on Sky
  12. Johnson appears on Charlie Rose in a discussion on India
  13. "Johnson's Passage to India". Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Jo Johnson selected for Orpington after six ballots including a tie". ConservativeHome.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "VOTE 2010: Jo Johnson wins Orpington". News Shopper. Retrieved 7 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Orpington MP Jo Johnson appointed to Government in parliamentary private secretary role". News Shopper. Retrieved 4 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Watt, Nicholas (25 April 2013). "Jo Johnson: a left-field choice to be David Cameron's policy chief". Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Election 2015: Who's Who in David Cameron's new cabinet". BBC News. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Minister of State for Universities, Science: Jo Johnson". Retrieved 11 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Morgan, John (11 May 2015). "Jo Johnson is new minister covering higher education". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 11 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Amelia Gentleman The Guardian

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Horam
Member of Parliament
for Orpington