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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.

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
Harriet Harman
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byAndrew Robathan
Succeeded byKate Hollern
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence
In office
5 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateJohn Hutton
Bob Ainsworth
Preceded byDerek Twigg
Succeeded byAndrew Robathan
Member of Parliament
for North Durham
In office
8 June 2001 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byGiles Radice
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority12,939 (29.9%)
Personal details
Born (1964-04-25) 25 April 1964 (age 55)
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Southern Maine, Newcastle Polytechnic

Early lifeEdit

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 careerEdit

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 careerEdit

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 FOI 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 oppositionEdit

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 MinisterEdit

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 healthEdit

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]


  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. 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". 29 March 2010 – via
  10. ^ Kirkup, James (9 March 2010). "Joanna Lumley 'irritates' minister over Gurkhas". The Daily Telegraph. 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. ^ Samuel Osborne (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 reveal mental health issues". BBC News. 14 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Ken Livingstone's comments about mental health 'belong in the dark ages' says the MP he attacked". 18 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Livingstone makes 'unreserved' apology". BBC News. 18 November 2015 – via
  23. ^ Maguire, Kevin (26 November 2015). Corbyn's lunch, a Keith "Vazz" hunch and the New Left Book club. New Statesman

External linksEdit