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Baroness Boothroyd kicks up a storm

3 March 2003

Baroness Boothroyd kicks up a storm

BARONESS Betty Boothroyd of Sandwell will be guest of honour at Aston University in Birmingham on Friday, March 7th when she is presented with an honorary doctorate of Science.

Baroness Boothroyd was speaker of the House of Commons from April 1992 to October 2000, the first woman to be elected to the Speaker’s Chair in the 700 years of the British Parliament.

Professor Anne Stevens, Head of the School of Languages & European Studies at Aston will present the Baroness with her honour, saying: "For her practical attitude and her great ideals, for her services to education, and above all for her services to democracy, I present on behalf of the Senate Baroness Betty Boothroyd of Sandwell for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa."

There will be a photo opportunity and a chance to meet Baroness Boothroyd between 2.45 and 3pm.

ENDS

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

Betty Boothroyd was awarded a life peerage on her retirement and sits in the House of Lords as an independent Cross Bencher. Unveiling her parliamentary portrait, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, called her 'a national treasure and institution'.

She first entered the Commons at a by-election in 1973 as Labour MP for West Bromwich. She subsequently served as a Government whip, joined the first British delegation to the European Parliament and was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.

As Speaker, she welcomed many overseas leaders to the House of Commons and represented the House on many official occasions, at home and abroad, most notably the state visits to Westminster of President Mandela, President Yeltsin, President Clinton, and President Chirac.

Born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where her parents worked in the local woollen mills, she has been active in politics since her childhood.

Her awards include the Freedom of the City of London and honorary degrees from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. During her eight years as Speaker, she wad voted Parliamentarian of the Year, Personality of the Year and Communicator of the Year.

She was installed as Chancellor of the Open University in 1994 and is patron of many good causes and charities.

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