Born in 1927 and educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Cambridge, James Prior was Member of Parliament for Waveney and a Member of the House of Lords from 1987. After serving in Germany and India with the Royal Norfolk Regiment he returned to the UK to pursue his career. He was elected as MP for Lowestoft (renamed Waveney) in 1959 and went on to serve as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from 1970 to 1972 and as Leader of the House and Lord President of the Council from 1972 to 1974. He was Secretary of State for Employment from 1979 to 1981 and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1981 to 1984. He retired from Parliament in 1987 and was subsequently ennobled as Baron Prior of Brampton.
Lord Prior was Chairman of The General Electric Company plc from 1984 to 1998, has served as Vice President and as Chairman of the Rural Housing Trust and was Chairman of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce from 1996 to 2004. He was our University's first Chancellor, serving from 1992 until 1999.
In 1992 The Rt Hon James Prior received the honorary degree of Doctor of the University.