Graham Jones (politician)
|Member of Parliament
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Greg Pope|
3 March 1966 |
Accrington, Lancashire, England
|Domestic partner||Kimberley Whitehead|
|Occupation||Member of Parliament|
Early life and education
Jones was brought up in Baxenden attending St John's CofE Primary School, Baxenden and St Christopher's CofE High School, Accrington. He attended Accrington & Rossendale College studying 'A' Levels. After 3 years at college Jones was employed for Blackburn with Darwen Council on refuse collection and by Lancashire County Council as a carer home assistant.
Jones attended the University of Central Lancashire to study a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies. in 1989 he studied Graphic Design and completed the City and Guilds qualification in Desktop Publishing followed by employment at Hollands Pies. Jones had periods of temporary and part-time work followed for Lancashire County Council as a community transport driver before working in print prepress doing agency work, then employed at MEN media in Manchester. Jones also taught prepress at evening classes at Preston College, later at Accrington & Rossendale College. In 2001 Jones worked at Daltons Printers on Oxford Street Accrington until the day after the 2010 General Election.
A relative of the former Labour Mayor, Kathleen Thom who represented Clayton Ward in the 80's and 90's and nephew by marriage to Len Dickenson, a former Mayor who represented Church Ward for the Labour Party in the 80's and 90's. Jones' father's family originate from the Mill Hill area of Blackburn and his mother's family from Accrington. His grandfather worked at Howard and Bulloughs Cotton Mill where he worked alongside Hyndburn Accrington Pals historian Walter Holmes. “I was on the next bench to Jones’ grandfather, and we worked as pattern makers." His great grandfather lived on Grange Street working as a livery driver at Accrington Railway Station. He had served in the Royal Ambulance Medical Corps during the World War 1 (Pvt Edwin Taylor RAMC 100489, 38 Grange Street). Jones' grandmother was a milliner who owned a hat shop, 'La Mode' in the 60's and 70's on Abbey Street in Accrington.
As a councillor
In 2006 he was elected as the Opposition Leader on Hyndburn Borough Council and remained as such until his resignation as a Councillor from the Council in May 2010, the seat retained by Labour Councillor Wendy Dwyer whom had been Jones' predecessor in the Accrington South division on Lancashire County Council elections. He was succeeded as Labour Group Leader by Miles Parkinson in 2010.
As a county councillor
In the 2005 Accrington South electoral Division for Lancashire County Council elections was declared an All Women Shortlist along with the two other Accrington seats and Oswaldtwistle. In 2009 Jones was selected to contest the Accrington South Division (Peel, Baxenden and Barnfield wards) amidst the MP's expenses scandal. His majority was reduced from 17.6% to 17.1%, a majority of 469 votes turning it into one of Labour's safer seats. Across Lancashire County, Labour were reduced from 44 seats to 16.
2010 Election campaign
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope suddenly announced his retirement on the 11 June 2009. Almost immediately the Conservative leader of Hyndburn Council who had fought and lost both the 1997 and 2001 General Elections for the Conservatives announced he would be putting his name forward to be the Conservative candidate. Jones and Britcliffe being frequent political adversaries in Hyndburn. The Hyndburn Labour Party lobbied Labours NEC for an open selection. 29 candidates nominated themselves for the selection with Jones winning the final nomination from a shortlist of six, winning in the first round of balloting on the 19 November 2009 in the upstairs hall at Accrington library.
Jones led a series of campaigns against Council waste, most notably exposing the fact that Hyndburn Council had wasted almost £600,000 on a new website, which was subsequently abandoned after just 6 months. Jones had also called for a police investigation following a long running complaint by a resident to examine whether funds claimed for the refurbishment of the coach house, in Oakhill Park, were defrauded from their insurance company. In a letter, Hyndburn Council Managing Director told how two tenders were received to repair fire damage in 2004. The lowest tender was accepted by the council, but the higher quotation was used for the insurance claim. Council bosses said this was a mistake and that the money had been paid back. The police said that no criminal offence had taken place.
In February 2010 the Blackburn Citizen reported that Councillor Jones was in "technical breach" of rules when the issue of unadopted roads Annie Street, Hodder Street and Manor Street came up at neighbourhood meetings following complaints by residents and Jones failed on one occasion to mention that he lived on Hodder Street. Although £2,000 was spent in restorative work on the roads, the Standards Board for England decided that Jones had not attempted to conceal his address from the council having declared it on other occasions. The committee concluded “on the balance of probability” that Coun Jones had not declared an interest, but had done so at the next meeting in February. After the decision, Jones said, "I feel completely vindicated because it was a simple error in the minutes which turned into a witch hunt."
In February 2007 Britcliffe had been forced to apologise and pay damages to his Labour counterpart for a breach of copyright over an election leaflet, and in the run in to the 2010 General Election, The Accrington Observer printed a letter written by Conservative councillor Marlene Haworth accusing him of having two homes following the death of Jones' grandmother.
Jones initiated proceedings against both for defamation and received an apology from Conservative Council leader Peter Britcliffe in July over the false accusation 'that Jones had two homes' after he had repeatedly shouted ‘two houses’ at him at a Council meeting.
His election campaign was supported by the chairman of Accrington Stanley, Ilyas Khan, who was seen out canvassing alongside Jones. This created some controversy with Jones main political rival Hyndburn Council’s Tory leader Peter Britcliffe saying 'he was surprised the football club’s famous name had been used ... supporting one of the General Election candidates'. Khan was said to be supporting Jones as an individual and not as the football club and yet his role as Chairman of Accrington Stanley was mentioned on Jones's promotional leaflets.
His main rival Conservative Councillor Karen Buckely was selected after delays and resignations on March 13 for the Conservatives after internal divisions led to 'regional Tory staff (taking) over management of the local association, stripping Hyndburn Conservatives of their power' which delayed the selection of Jones' principle opponent. Chairman Brian Roberts and his two deputies Marlene Haworth and Peter Clarke have both resigned over the row and in a joint statement the trio said the list of candidates from central office "did not have enough local content". 'A section of the local association wanted to see Hyndburn council leader Peter Britcliffe – who had been rejected from the approved list after an interview – put forward.'
After his election Jones pledged to fight for the people of Hyndburn and said, “Last week I was clocking on as a factory worker and I will soon be heading to Westminster. It’s a dream.” Jones also stated he would remain a Councillor on Lancashire County Council until his term of office finished in 2013.
Jones was appointed to the Labour Whips office following Ed Miliband becoming Labour leader in October 2010 and remains in the whips office (Dec 2013).
In August 2013 he was reselected as the Labour candidate for the next General Election.
Jones partner is Kimberley Whitehead. He was previously married to Paula née Courtney and has one son. He also has a daughter with Miss Whitehead.
- Who's Who
- "List of members returned to serve in parliament 2010". The London Gazette. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: Constituency: Hyndburn". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Accrington councillor breached standards over pothole repairs". The Citizen. Newsquest Media Group. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Accrington Stanley chairman signs for Labour". The Citizen. Newsquest Media Group. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
- The fight to be next Hyndburn MP
- "Dream result for Hyndburn Labour candidate". The Lancashire Telegraph. May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Hyndburn
2010 – present