Class war in the government as Warsi hits out at ‘Eton mess’

Baroness Warsi has hit out at the number of old Etonians in David Cameron's inner circle, in a comment which provides further evidence of a mini class war at the height of government.

Just days after education secretary Michael Gove compared Cameron's operation to that of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, who was criticised for nepotism, Baroness Warsi appeared on ITV's The Agenda to robustly support him.

"Michael was making an incredibly serious point that it can't be right that the seven per cent of kids who go to independent school end up at the top tables – not just of politics, but banking, and law, and every other profession," the faith and communities minister said.

"What Michael wants to create is a first class, world class state system which means that in future years you will have more pupils from state schools, people like me, around the Cabinet table, and in that I fully support Michael Gove."

More damaging than her comments was Warsi's decision to appear on the programme with a  mocked up The Agenda front page showing old Etonians David Cameron, Jo Johnson, Oliver Letwin and Ed Llewellyn with the headline: "Number 10 takes Eton mess off the menu".

Johnson is minister for government policy, Letwin is Cabinet Office minister and Llewellyn is head of the policy unit.

"This is open warfare in the Conservative party," Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said.

"Once again we are seeing the Tories fighting like ferrets in a sack"

Michael Gove branded the number of Old Etonians "preposterous" and "ridiculous" in an interview with the Financial Times this weekend.

"It doesn't make me feel personally uncomfortable because I like each of the individuals concerned, but it's ridiculous," he said.

"I don’t know where you can find some such similar situation in a developed economy."

According to the Spectator, the education secretary was given a "right royal bollocking" by the prime minister for the comments.

The prime minister's spokesman said: "[Cameron] appoints the people he thinks are the best people to do the jobs."