Kevan Jones


Kevan Jones
Official portrait of Mr Kevan Jones crop 2.jpg
Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces
In office
12 May 2010 – 6 January 2016
LeaderHarriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byAndrew Robathan
Succeeded byKate Hollern
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Veterans
In office
5 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byDerek Twigg
Succeeded byAndrew Robathan
Member of Parliament
for North Durham
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byGiles Radice
Majority4,742 (11.2%)
Personal details
Kevan David Jones

(1964-04-25) 25 April 1964 (age 57)
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
Political partyLabour
ResidencePelton Fell
Alma materUniversity of Southern Maine, Newcastle Polytechnic
WebsiteOfficial website

Kevan David Jones PC (born 25 April 1964) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Durham since 2001. He resigned as a shadow defence minister in January 2016 in protest against a front bench reshuffle by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Early life

Jones was born in Nottinghamshire and is the son of a coal miner. He attended Portland Comprehensive School in Worksop and Newcastle Polytechnic and the University of Southern Maine, gaining a BA (Hons) in Government and Public Policy. Before becoming an MP, he was a Newcastle upon Tyne councillor from 1990 to 2001 and Chairman of the Development Committee as well as an elected officer of the GMB Union.[1]

Parliamentary career

Jones was first elected as MP for North Durham in 2001 with a majority of 18,681. After becoming member of Parliament, Jones became a member of the influential Defence Select Committee, and also a member of the Labour Party's Parliamentary Committee. His Private Member's Bill, the Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004,[2] successfully passed Parliament, and came into force in December 2004. The Act makes it illegal for large shops to open on Christmas Day.

He was re-elected to the North Durham seat in the 2005 general election, with a majority of 16,781. He polled 64.1% of the vote. His campaigning on behalf of people who had coal health compensation payments deducted by unscrupulous claims handlers influenced the Compensation Act 2006.[3]

Ministerial career

Jones was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence in October 2008.[4]

In August 2009 he was accused of briefing against the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, who had been an outspoken critic of the government's record on equipping troops.[5][6] A series of Freedom of Information requests had been made[7] concerning Dannat's expenses, and blogger Guido Fawkes "outed" Jones as the culprit, although he did not provide any evidence that directly connected Jones to the requests. Jones, who had tabled Parliamentary questions on Army officials' spending before becoming a minister,[5] denied the allegations and said he had a good working relationship with Dannatt.[8]

Jones publicly apologised to Joanna Lumley in March 2010 after he had accused her of "deathly silence" over misleading advice being given to some Gurkhas following Lumley's successful campaign to allow more Gurkhas to settle in the UK.[9][10]

In opposition

In May 2010 Harriet Harman appointed Jones Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces, outside the Shadow Cabinet. He retained this position under Labour leader Ed Miliband and in Jeremy Corbyn's first appointment of shadow ministers in 2015.[11]

He became a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[12] He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.[13]

In December 2015 Jones made public his strong criticism of the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in particular after Corbyn opposed military intervention in the Syrian Civil War. Jones stated "because of [Corbyn's] incompetence, the Tories are getting away with things that are not being properly scrutinised and the people who are suffering are the ones that we represent."[14]

Jones supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[15]

He is Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Industrial Heritage.[16]

He is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.[17]

Resignation as shadow Defence Minister

In January 2016, Jones resigned as a Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces, following a reshuffle in which Jeremy Corbyn had promoted Emily Thornberry, who opposes the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system, to shadow Defence Secretary. In his resignation letter, Jones said he believed that the country had to "maintain a credible nuclear deterrent, while working to advance global nuclear disarmament."[18]

He later supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[19]

Mental health

In 2012, in a debate in Parliament on mental health issues and their taboo, Jones spoke about his own battles with depression, alongside Conservative back-bencher Charles Walker, who spoke about his own 30-year battle with obsessive–compulsive disorder. Jones stated that he had suffered with depression since 1996. Jones and Walker were both later praised for their speeches by Time to Change, a mental health anti-stigma campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.[20]

In November 2015, after the appointment of the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to co-chair the Labour Party's review of whether to replace the Trident nuclear missile system, Jones, a Shadow Junior Defence Minister, told the PoliticsHome website he was not sure Livingstone knew anything about defence and his appointment would only damage credibility among those who care about defence. In response, Livingstone told the Daily Mirror and others that Jones was "obviously depressed and disturbed" and "should see a GP". Jones responded that the remarks "belong in the dark ages" and that mental health should not be used to attack political differences.[21] Livingstone eventually apologised, only doing so unreservedly via Twitter after intervention by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.[22] It was later noted in passing that Jones had himself in 2010 ridiculed a political viewpoint by reference to "the nearest lunatic asylum".[23]

Post Office Ltd

Jones has been very critical of the way in which many sub-post office franchisees were treated by Post Office Ltd during and after the Horizon IT accounting scandal. On 19 March 2020, he criticised both the organization and its former CEO, Paula Vennells, in a House of Commons debate.[24]


  1. ^ "Parliamentary Yearbook". Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Christmas store ban set to be law". BBC News. 15 October 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Kevan Jones bio". Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  4. ^ "MOD – 2008–2009 annual report and accounts – (Minister for Veterans). Mr Kevan Jones MP. (appointed 5 October 2008)" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b Brady, Brian (23 August 2009). "An unpleasant skirmish at the ministry". The Independent . London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Minister at centre of alleged smear campaign against General Sir Richard Dannatt". The Daily Telegraph. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  7. ^ Kite, Melissa; Leach, Ben (22 August 2009). "Help for Heroes dragged into General Sir Richard Dannatt 'smear campaign'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Minister denies Army chief 'plot'". BBC News. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Defence minister apologises to Joanna Lumley over Gurkha row". The Daily Telegraph. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  10. ^ Kirkup, James (9 March 2010). "Joanna Lumley 'irritates' minister over Gurkhas". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Kevan's Biography". Kevan Jones. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  13. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013–14". Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  14. ^ Osborne, Samuel (4 December 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn is 'incompetent' says shadow Defence Minister". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  15. ^ Wearing, David (28 October 2016). "The Labour rebels who didn't back the Yemen vote have blood on their hands". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 29 March 2017]". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  17. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  18. ^ Andrew Sparrow (6 January 2016). "Kevan Jones becomes third shadow minister to resign following Corbyn's reshuffle - Politics live". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  20. ^ "MPs tell of mental health issues". BBC News. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  21. ^ Stone, Jon (18 November 2015). "Ken Livingstone's comments about mental health 'belong in the dark ages' says the MP he attacked". Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Livingstone makes 'unreserved' apology". BBC News. 18 November 2015.
  23. ^ Maguire, Kevin (26 November 2015). Corbyn's lunch, a Keith "Vazz" hunch and the New Left Book club. New Statesman
  24. ^ "Horizon Settlement: Future Governance of Post Office Ltd - Hansard". Retrieved 8 April 2020.

External links

Video clips

  • Keeping Christmas Day special

News items

  • Opposing shops opening on Christmas Day in 2004
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for North Durham