Born in 1932, Lord Wakeham was educated at Charterhouse School and later qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After building a successful career in business he turned his attentions to politics and in 1979 was elected as Member of Parliament for Maldon, a seat he kept until 1992. He went on to serve in a variety of senior government roles, including Secretary of State for Energy, Leader of the House of Commons, Leader of the House of Lords (the only living person to have held both positions and only the fifth in British History), Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Government Chief Whip. He was Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission from 1995 to 2001, and in 1997 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. He also served as Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords in 2000. He has a distinguished record of voluntary service, having been involved with the Alexandra Rose Day and RNLI and is President of the Brendoncare Foundation. John Wakeham was Chancellor of Brunel University from 1998 to 2013.
In 1992 The Rt Hon Lord John Wakeham was awarded an Honorary PhD.
"At the time of Investiture of the new University Chancellor it is common practice to invite the Chancellor to mark the occasion by conferring a small number of honorary degrees. Following that tradition, Lord Prior is conferring 2 such personal awards. The first one is to The Rt Hon Lord Wakeham.
Lord Wakeham became MP for Colchester South and Maldon in 1983 after a distinguished career in business. Originally, by profession he was a chartered accountant. He held his seat in the House of Commons until 1992.
After holding various ministerial posts, including Leader of the House of Commons from 1987-89, he was elevated to the House of Lords. During his parliamentary career he has been Government Chief Whip, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Commons and currently holds a cabinet seat as well as being leader of the House of Lords. In addition, the award recognises the stalwart support he gave over a number of years as an associate governor of the Essex Institute and for the drive to achieve a Polytechnic in the region.
We would like to honour his courage at the time and after the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel at Brighton during the party conference in 1984 and the central role he has had in British government over the past 13 years.
Lord Wakeham therefore receives the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy."