Kevan Jones

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Person.png Kevan Jones   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Official portrait of Mr Kevan Jones crop 2.jpg
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Southern Maine, Newcastle Polytechnic
Labour defence politician with safe establishment views

Employment.png Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces

In office
12 May 2010 - 6 January 2016

Employment.png Member of Parliament for North Durham

In office
7 June 2001 - Present
Preceded byGiles Radice

Kevan David Jones is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Durham since 2001. He resigned as part of a 2016 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.

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.[2]

Ministerial career

Jones was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence in October 2008.[3]

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.[4][5] A series of Freedom of Information requests had been made[6] 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,[4] denied the allegations and said he had a good working relationship with Dannatt.[7]

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.[8][9]

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.[10]

He became a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinize the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[11] He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.[12]

In December 2015 Jones made public his strong criticism of the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in particular after Corbyn opposed overt military intervention in the Syrian 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."[13]

Jones supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[14]

He is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.[15]

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."[16]

He later supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[17]


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