Guild condemns Widdecombe honour

The Guild of Students released a statement on Wednesday criticising the University of Birmingham over its decision to award former MP Ann Widdecombe an honorary degree

The Guild of Students released a statement on Wednesday criticising the University of Birmingham over its decision to award former MP Ann Widdecombe an honorary degree.

In the statement the Guild describes the award as 'inappropriate', and goes on to say that, 'Considering Widdecombe’s public work against LGBTQ rights, as demonstrated in her proposed amendment opposing the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act which banned the promotion of homosexuality by local governments, the Guild believes an honorary degree is an ill-judged move.

'We feel the University has a responsibility to issue a strong message that discrimination in any form is fundamentally wrong. Honouring public figures like Widdecombe is antithetical to such a message.'

‘We feel the University has a responsibility to issue a strong message that discrimination in any form is fundamentally wrong.’

The Guild has also called for the honorary degree selection process to be reviewed in light of the decision.

Widdecombe was awarded her 'Doctor of the University' honorary degree from the University at a ceremony on the 5th July. The University website's 'Outstanding Alumni' page describes her as a 'no-nonsense politician, celebrity, writer and agony aunt' and adds that she is 'always true to herself.' The former Conservative MP and minister graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1969 with a BA Honours in Latin.

Also receiving honorary degrees at the University this year were David Murray, the Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, as well as Randal Keynes OBE, Professor Alan Thorpe, Dame Sue Ion DBE, Dr Andrew Vallance Owen and Kevin Issac.

The full statement from the Guild of Students can be read here, while the biography of Ann Widdecombe on the University of Birmingham website can be found here.

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Patrick McGhee



Published

9th August 2012



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