Earlier the minister appeared to blow the cover of Labour MP Barry Sheerman, chair of the Commons education select committee.
Marking the 40th anniversary of the Robbins report, which advocated the expansion of higher education in the 1960s, Mr Johnson said:
"In the end, the decision was narrowly against students making a (financial) contribution. But the committee added that, as student numbers grewI university funding would need to be looked at again.
"It may or may not comfort my honourable friend the chairman of the education select committee to know that the sole voice of dissent in the final report belonged to a Mr Sheerman." Not the current chair, but an earlier namesake.