Lord Wharton became Chair of the education watchdog the Office for Students in February 2021, at a sensitive time for the government amid accusations of cronyism. A Conservative peer, Wharton’s appointment was criticised by Labour. The former MP and junior minister had not previously held an education post, but will have to learn quickly in his current, two-days-a-week job. Wharton managed Boris Johnson’s campaign to replace Theresa May as leader of the Conservatives two years after he lost his seat as the member for Stockton South. He succeeded noted educationist Michael Barber, who helped establish the Office.