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West MPs divided over issue of Old Etonians' influence

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 30, 2013

Lost for words: Sarah Wollaston

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Westcountry MP Sarah Wollaston has criticised the growing number of Old Etonians playing an influential role in Government.

Dr Wollaston, MP for Totnes, spoke out after Jo Johnson and Jesse Norman, both former pupils of the elite private school, were promoted by the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson, the brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson, whose family hail from Exmoor, has been appointed as David Cameron's new head of policy.

Mr Norman has become a member of the Prime Minister's new policy advisory board. The eight-strong team also includes George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth.

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Mr Cameron was educated at Eton, as was Ed Llewellyn, his chief of staff, Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister and Sir George Young, the Chief Whip.

In an interview with The Times at the weekend, Mr Norman said that there are so many Old Etonians in Downing Street because "other schools don't have the same commitment to public service".

In response, Dr Wollaston wrote on Twitter: "Words fail me." She later added: "I'm not asked for policy advice, but just in case ... there are other schools [and] some of them even admit women."

Mr Eustice, a former Truro School pupil and once Mr Cameron's Press aide, said: "I am looking forward to helping develop policy as part of the Number 10 policy board.

"One of our key aims will be to ensure that we make full use of all the talent that we have on the back benches. I have no interest in who went to what school and became tired of this argument years ago. The experience and ideas people have is what counts."

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