In Depth

Jo Johnson: why PM brought another 'posh boy' into No. 10

David Cameron's decision to take Boris Johnson's brother into his inner circle is likely to backfire

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TORIES think David Cameron has poked Boris Johnson in the eye by appointing his younger brother Jo Johnson as the new head of his policy unit inside Number Ten.

Catapulting Johnson Minor into Downing Street is a bizarre move and took Westminster by surprise. It appears calculated to show London Mayor Boris Johnson that, despite his naked ambition to enter Downing Street, Cameron still has the power to put his younger brother into Number Ten first.

ConservativeHome, the grassroots website, said Cameron wanted to "knock Boris Johnson down a bit by building his brother up".

Nick Robinson, political editor at the BBC, said it would restore sibling rivalry in politics (after the departure of David Miliband). It’s a case of Jo Jo versus Bo Jo.

Jo Johnson, the MP for Orpington in south London, only became an MP in 2010. He was a senior correspondent for the Financial Times in Paris, but the part of his CV that has caught attention – apart from the trademark mop of blond hair – is the fact that Jo Johnson is an Old Etonian.

Bringing yet another Old Etonian into the heart of his Government – both Cameron and his chief of staff Ed Llewellyn claim the exclusive school as their alma mater - was widely ridiculed on Twitter this morning. Patrick O’Flynn, a political commentator for the Daily Express, tweeted: "I was getting worried that there are not enough Etonians at the heart of Govt, so big relief to hear of Jo Johnson's job in Downing Street."

Ben Brogan, deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote: "Eton. Oxford. Bullingdon. Journalism. Well, at least @JoJohnsonMP isn't a banker…"

Cameron has also appointed an advisory board to answer accusations that he is out of touch with his own backbenchers after a series of rows over gay marriage, Europe, planning laws (that upset the Tory shires) and Lords reform. Board members include Jesse Norman, who led the rebellion over House of Lords reform, Cameron's former press secretary George Eustice, Peter Lilley, who was social security secretary under John Major, former schools minister Nick Gibb, Jane Ellison and Paul Uppal.

It is hard to believe that Cameron felt that only Jo Johnson could give his policy team the sharper edge that he needs to answer the growing threat from UKIP – the party that promises to make huge inroads into the Tory vote at the local elections on 2 May.

Cameron may be playing games at Boris Johnson’s expense, but it is likely to be a costly joke among the Tory Toffs. Ed Miliband is unashamedly running a class war campaign against Cameron. Bringing another Old Etonian into Downing Street increases the public perception that we have a Government run by rich, out-of-touch public school boys. Only now it’s three posh boys in charge instead of two.

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