Lord Murphy of Torfaen awarded Honorary Doctorate


The Right Honourable Lord Murphy has today (Tuesday, July 10) been awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Literature) by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Paul Murphy

Lord Paul Murphy was born in 1948. His family comes from Abersychan, near Pontypool, in Torfaen. He attended St Francis RC School and West Monmouth School, before going to Oriel College, Oxford, in 1967, to study history.

Lord Murphy’s first job was with the CWS, and then, as a lecturer in History and Politics at the Ebbw Vale College of Further Education (now Coleg Gwent). He became a member of Torfaen Borough Council in 1973, and served as the Chair of the Finance Committee for 10 years. He had become a member of the Labour Party in 1964, and was Secretary of the Pontypool/Torfaen Labour Party for twelve years.

In 1987, he succeeded Leo Abse as MP for Torfaen, and was a member of the Welsh Affairs Committee before becoming Shadow Welsh Office Minister, a job he held for five years. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair subsequently appointed him to Front Bench positions covering Northern Ireland, Foreign Affairs and Defence.

On presenting the Right Honourable Lord Murphy of Torfaen to the congregation Roger Maidment, Dean of Faculty of Business and Management, said:

“It is my great pleasure to present Lord Murphy of Torfaen, for an Honorary degree of Doctor of Literature for services to Wales and international co-operation at today's convocation.  A committed member of the House of Lords, Paul continues his efforts for Northern Ireland in the face of the suspension of the devolved Assembly for over a year and the challenges of Brexit for the Irish border. 

A student of history and an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford; Lord Murphy of Torfaen has, through his endeavours as a Minister, secured his own place in the history of both Wales and Ireland and I am delighted to present him to this congregation.”

On receiving the award at the ceremony, the Right Honourable Lord Murphy of Torfaen said:

“It's great to be able to come back to this fine city and to this great hall and it’s a privilege to receive this Honorary Doctorate - a Doctor of Literature.  What is also so moving for me is to be able to receive this degree in this great University.  As many of you know the roots of the University goes back to the 1820s when Lampeter was founded.  It's an international university - it doesn't only provide degrees to people from Wales and the UK but beyond and probably to most of the continents in the world. 

What a wonderful day it is to today where we can celebrate the achievements of young people who have gone through three years of University and this is a particular point in your lives which you'll always remember in the same way as when you entered University when you were given the opportunity - this is another step in your life and it's a very important one.  Perhaps one day that one of you, more than one of you, will become a computer scientist, great engineer, a great leader of men and women - who knows?  But what is certain, that would not be possible without the truly splendid and magnificent education that you've had at this University."

In 1997, Lord Murphy was made Political Development Minister for Northern Ireland and Deputy to the Secretary of State, the late Mo Mowlam. He was responsible for chairing many of the talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The following year he was made a Privy Counsellor, and also was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales. He held this post for three years before becoming Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Lord Murphy left government in 2005, and was appointed Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee which oversees MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. In 2007, Gordon Brown made him Secretary of State for Wales, effectively the first person to have held the position twice. Two years later, he retired from Parliament in 2015. He was made a life peer in the same year, taking the title Lord Murphy of Torfaen, of Abersychan in the County of Gwent.

Lord Murphy is a Papal Knight, and is an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, and of Glyndŵr University. He has an Honorary D. Univ. from the University of South Wales. His hobbies include classical music and cooking.

Further Information

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