Oxford ‘should name college after Thatcher’

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BORIS Johnson has called for Oxford University to endow a college in honour of Margaret Thatcher to make up for denying the former prime minister an honorary doctorate.

In 1985, Oxford dons refused to grant the honour to the then premier, who studied at Somerville College, in protest at her education policies.

Speaking at the Global Universities Summit, the London Mayor, also an Oxford alumni, recalled the university’s snub, which made Baroness Thatcher the first post-war prime minister educated at the institution to be denied the honour.

“They had decided, unprecedentedly, not to give her a doctorate even though she was an Oxford prime minister, an alumni of that university and the first female prime minister of this country,” he said.

He claimed the reason was because “she had changed the law so that it was possible for higher education institutions to charge international students for a contribution for their studies”.

Setting out the benefits of that change in London, Mr Johnson said: “In the last year alone, non-EU students have made a contribution of £870 million in tuition fees to this city alone.”

Somerville College is planning to establish Thatcher scholarships but Mr Johnson called for the higher honour.