Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller (Lab) says he is ‘humbled’ to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Chester last week.
Mr Miller, who is to retire from Parliament at the next election, has become an honorary doctor of science. He currently chairs the Commons science and technology committee,
Speaking at the ceremony, held in Chester Cathedral, he told the audience: “When my wife Fran and I moved to the North West in 1977, we had both been active as lay members of the Labour Party for some time but there was no grand plan for me to become an MP.
“After moving to the North West, I continued my political lay activities through the 80s and it was in 1991 when the local Labour Party was looking for a candidate that things changed.
“I was approached and asked to put my hat in the ring. With some trepidation I did so and then in April 1992 took the seat from my opponents with a majority of 1,989 – not exactly a safe seat at that time.
“With some 24 years of activism under my belt at that stage, I had seen the best and the worst of politics and I soon came to realise that in Ellesmere Port and Neston there were some of the most decent hardworking people one could want to meet.
“Alongside them was the then chair of my local party Reg Chrimes who was sadly unable to join me today.
“People like these set a high bar in standards in public life and I hope it is felt that some of it rubbed off on me.”
He continued: “Whilst I have done many things as an MP, I want to concentrate on two, local issues and my involvement in science policy.
“I have tried to drive things forward locally by working with industry, commerce, the third sector and academia. Successes at Vauxhall Motors, Cheshire Oaks and more recently Thornton are amongst the highlights.
“I retain many lasting memories of individual casework particularly some of the human stories.
“Perhaps helping reunite a child with his grandparents after his father was murdered abroad will stay with me for ever.
“Similarly persuading the government to allow a young woman living in a UNHCR camp on the Thai-Burmese border to come to the UK to live with her only surviving relatives after she had seen and been through hell on earth.
“These are the most moving cases that I will never forget.
“My interest in science goes back a long way and well before I was working at what is now the University of Portsmouth, the bridge between science and society has been important to me.
“New procedures were adopted at the end of the last parliament as a result of which select committee chairs became elected by the whole House on a cross party basis which is how I became chair of the science and technology committee.
“I think one thing that would surprise people is that my committee has never had a party political vote.
“As a science committee, we have been led by the evidence.”
Mr Miller concluded: “I am honoured to receive a DSc today something that the university has bestowed on just a few people.
“The nature of the work I put in that has led to the award is not quite the same as my daughter Joanne’s PhD, where I struggle to get past page 10.
“I am nevertheless humbled by the fact that the University of Chester consider me worthy of this award after my 22 years of service to both the local community and to science.”