VIDEO: Ex-Northampton MP who never went to university says honorary fellowship ‘puts him on a par’ with graduate friends

Brian Binley, former MP for Northampton South, receives his honorary degree
Brian Binley, former MP for Northampton South, receives his honorary degree

Former MP Brian Binley has spoken of his pride in receiving an honorary fellowship from the University of Northampton having never gone to univeristy as a student.

Mr Binley, who stepped down as the MP for Northampton South ahead of the last General Election, received his award at the summer graduation ceremony yesterday.

Mr Binley said: “I think that young people going to university now have a wonderful opportunity as it gives them a base to start their working life. However, a degree is a not a passport to the boardroom – graduates also need good social skills, energy, creativity, some get-up and go as all of these attributes are just as important as the qualification.

“As the creator of Northampton Alive, I like the idea of the new University campus being close to the town centre because it will inject not only energy and life, but opportunities for both the students and the businesses in the town. We are lucky to have a University of the quality we have in Northampton. It has made tremendous strides and I am delighted to be associated with it as an ambassador.

“I was amazed when I learned that I was getting a fellowship bestowed upon me by the University of Northampton because I was a secondary modern school boy and didn’t go to university. I can tell all my friends who went to grammar school and then university that I am on a par with them now,” he said.

Mr Binley first joined the Conservative Party in 1958 and was an office holder in the party until his retirement from politics at the 2015 General Election. He was elected onto Northamptonshire County Council in 1997, resigning from the County Council in 2009.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament in May 2005. Brian served as the Vice Chairman of the Business Innovation and Skills Committee and established and chaired a Commission into the decline of the High Street which was published in Brian is the non-executive Chairman of BCC Marketing Services Ltd, a company he created in 1989 to offer database building services to the direct marketing industry. The company now employs 130 people. He also co-founded Beechwood House Publishing Ltd, producing and publishing directors including the Binley’s Directory of National Health Service Management and Binley’s Director of Local Government Management. As a result of these two products, Brian was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Professor Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton, said: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2015, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have made a positive impact on others. The recipients of these honorary awards will inspire our graduates as they begin the next exciting stage in their lives, making their own mark on the world.”