Heseltine honoured by LJMU Fellowship

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Lord Heseltine talks to JMU Journalism's Adam Jones. Pic © LJMU

Lord Heseltine talks to JMU Journalism’s Adam Jones. Pic © LJMU

Lord Michael Heseltine spoke of his emotional attachment to our “remarkable” city as he received an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University at the Anglican Cathedral today.

Lord Heseltine was honoured by LJMU in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the regeneration of Liverpool, most notably during the early 1980s after the Toxteth riots.

The veteran politician and businessman told JMU Journalism: “I knew this city in its declining years. Did I believe that it could be turned around? Yes I did. Did I see it on this scale that it was turned around? No… that was hope, but regeneration is about hope.”

He later gave a speech to LJMU graduates, describing how proud he is of Liverpool following its remarkable resurgence in recent years after witnessing it in some of its worst moments decades ago.

The 80-year-old, who was made a Freeman of Liverpool in 2012, said: “With each visit, a growing attachment and emotion enveloped my feelings towards this remarkable place. I have a very simple philosophy: show me the problem and show me who’s in charge, and that’s the secret as to why Liverpool is so different.

“It has been a great privilege to have worked with this city and I hope you will understand the lessons of what is making and will continue to make this city one of the jewels in the British crown.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YusmfP2zIgA

Lord Heseltine was dubbed ‘The Minister for Merseyside’ in 1981 after he was appointed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following the Toxteth riots, and he is credited with helping the city recover through inward investment.

He successfully argued that money should be spent on regeneration rather than the “managed decline” that others in the Conservative government were suggesting.

Lord Heseltine with LJMU Chancellor, Sir Brian Leveson. Pic by Matthew Judge

Lord Heseltine with LJMU Chancellor, Sir Brian Leveson. Pic by Matthew Judge

Lord Heseltine created the Merseyside Development Corporation, which took responsibility for modernising the Albert Dock and other dockland areas, as well as introducing the Liverpool International Garden Festival in 1984.

In government, he served as a Cabinet minister and famously made a leadership challenge against Margaret Thatcher in 1990. The resulting fall-out led to her eventual resignation as Prime Minister, though Heseltine did not win the contest.

He was later appointed Deputy Prime Minister by Thatcher’s successor, John Major.

The new LJMU Chancellor, Sir Brian Leveson, was also in attendance at today’s ceremony and he told JMU Journalism: “Lord Heseltine played enormous part in the regeneration of Liverpool following the riots and he was a true supporter and friend of the city of Liverpool during those very difficult times. I’m delighted that he’s being recognised by LJMU.”

He added: “I think that the setting is wonderful and I think that the occasion is a marvellous opportunity for all the graduates to celebrate three years’ hard work and the success of their university experience.”

Additional reporting by Matthew Judge

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism