Jo Johnson is a prominent voice in UK public life and a well-respected political figure.
Johnson was a long-standing Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Orpington from May 2010 to November 2019 and served as a Minister of State in the Governments under Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Theresa May. On 5th September 2019 he quit as MP and Minister under his brother Boris’ Government citing “unresolvable tension” between his family loyalty and the national interest. Johnson had also previously resigned on a point of principle in November 2018, performing what the Times in an editorial described as an “important public service” in exposing fundamental flaws in the Government’s plans for Brexit. The Times described Jo as “one of the few politicians to tell the truth about the dreadful predicament in which the country finds itself and the choices that lie ahead”. His last Ministerial role was as Minister of State at the Department for Transport, which he combined with the role of Minster for London.
Prior to this, he led major reforms of the UK’s higher education, research and innovation systems. As Minister of State for Universities, Science and Innovation (2015-18), Jo introduced the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which the Times Higher Education described as the most significant legislation in 25 years. This overhauled the regulatory framework for English universities, creating a new regulator, the Office for Students, to hold universities more accountable for the quality of teaching and student outcomes. The Act also created a new single national strategic research body, UK Research and Innovation.
Before this Jo Johnson was Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit (2013-15) and Minister of State in the Cabinet Office. In this role, he led the team that produced the 2015 Manifesto, helping to secure the first Conservative majority in almost a quarter of a century. Prior to his election to Parliament in 2010, Jo spent thirteen years at the Financial Times, ending his career there as Associate Editor. He held a variety of roles, including Editor of The Lex Column, South Asia Bureau Chief (2005-8) and Paris Correspondent. He won awards from a number of organisations, including the Foreign Press Association.
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