He was a son of Edwin and Kathleen Beesley. He was educated at King Edward VI Five Ways School, Birmingham University. In 1947 he married Eileen Eleanor Yard. They had two daughters and three sons. In 1985 he was appointed a CBE.
He became a research associate at Birmingham University in April 1947. In 1948 he undertook work on the economics side under the direction of Mr. Clive Williams for the Abercrombie-Jackson Town and Country Survey. He then resumed work at the university, where he was a member of the junior staff. He founded the Beesley lectures, an annual series of lectures on economic regulation.
- ‘BEESLEY, Prof. Michael Edwin’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 9 April 2014
- Foster, Christopher (October 8, 1999). "Michael Beesley" – via www.theguardian.com.
- Foster, Christopher. Beesley, Michael Edwin (1924–1999). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- The Times House of Commons, 1950
- Who's Who of 475 Liberal Candidates fighting the 1950 General Election
- British parliamentary election results 1950-1973, Craig, F.W.S.