The importance of having a thorough understanding of both sides of the argument is key to a successful career in law and politics, according to lawyer-turned-MP Michael Ellis.

The former Attorney General, who has served as MP for Northampton North since being elected in 2010, was speaking to students during a visit to Northampton College.

He delivered a 30-minute talk looking back at his career before fielding questions from law, public services and criminology students.

He said: “No matter what side of the debate you are on, whether you are prosecuting or defending, or speaking on behalf of the Government or the opposition, it’s so important to fully understand both sides of the story. That will help you articulate your argument and foresee any flaws in your opponent’s line of reasoning.

“Knowledge is power and the more you can learn the better placed you are to present an argument.”

Michael discussed his early career in law as a barrister practising in criminal law in Northampton and spoke of his experiences working with an evolving legal system, living through significant changes in the law and the courts.

He also gave an insight into Interesting and influential cases that he has been involved in within the hierarchy of courts in England and Wales, gave his views on the effectiveness and reform within the Criminal Justice System and the outcomes of policy choices on victims, witnesses, offenders and criminal justice agencies.

Michael Colbourne, course co-ordinator for public services at Northampton College, said: “This was a tremendous opportunity for our students to hear from someone at the very top of his profession who can give a real-life insight into life in parliament.

“It was fascinating to hear of Michael’s motivation and expectations when moving from legal practice into politics and to understand how Michael has exercised leadership and influence in his roles to enable good outcomes for individuals and communities as a lawyer, constituency MP and from within the executive.”