Brunel Universtiy London celebrated its first fifty years with a dinner yesterday, and was praised by one Doctor Johnson, who had himself had a day that might have felt like half a century.
Boris Johnson is MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, so his presence at the dinner as the local constituency MP was routine and unremarkable, save that just a few hours earlier he had called a press conference to announce his candidacy for leader of the Conservative Party, only to end up announcing that he would not be running. The rest of his day had presumably been somewhat taxing.
Boris, who holds an honourary doctorate in law from Brunel, praised its contribution to the economy of the local area, London, and indeed the whole country. He said he was not concerned that leaving the EU might make it less attractive to overseas students – “of course, overseas students will continue to come to Brunel in their droves”, he said.
He glossed over one issue that might harm their ability to flock to Brunel. “There is the question of funding of course, but that is more a matter for my brother (Universities minister Jo Johnson) than for me”, he said.
But his key message, that Brunel has a positive effect on its surroundings, was summed up in his final remarks, the “this neighbourhood is the most intellectually fertile in London”.