Helen Jones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Helen Jones, see Helen Jones (disambiguation).
Helen Jones
MP
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
9 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Claire Ward
Succeeded by Mark Francois
Member of Parliament
for Warrington North
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Doug Hoyle
Majority 6,771 (15.3%)
Personal details
Born (1954-12-24) 24 December 1954 (age 59)
Chester, Cheshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Michael Vobe[1]
Alma mater University College London, University of Liverpool
Religion Roman Catholic

Helen Mary Jones (born 24 December 1954) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Warrington North since 1997. Andrew Roth of the Guardian describes her as an: "intelligent, battle hardened leftwing solicitor built into the Labour machine"[2] She was Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from 2009 to 2010.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born and brought up in Chester, the daughter of the late Robert Edward Jones and the late Mary Scanlan.[3]

Jones was educated at St Werburgh's Primary School and Ursuline Convent in Chester. She graduated with a BA from University College London and a MEd from the University of Liverpool. She also holds qualifications from the former Chester College and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Before entering Parliament, Jones had an established political career as a local councillor, serving on Chester City Council from 1984 to 1991. She was unsuccessful in her initial attempts to move beyond local government, contesting the Lancashire Central constituency at the 1984 European Parliament election, and North Shropshire and Ellesmere Port and Neston at the 1983 and 1987 general elections. However, in 1997, she was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the 'safe' Labour seat of Warrington North and the subsequent general election saw her win the seat with 62.1% of the vote. This had shrunk to 53.5% in the 2005 election and shrunk again to 45.5% in the 2010 election.

Alongside her political career, Jones has been employed as an English teacher, a solicitor, a development officer with the mental health charity MIND and a justice and peace officer with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Jones served as a member of the House of Commons select committees on Catering (1997–98), Public Administration (1998–2000) and Education and Employment (1999–2001 and 2003-). She also served on the Standing Orders Committee (1999-) and the Unopposed Bills (Panel) (1999-). She was also a member of Labour Party backbench committees on Home Affairs (2002-), Education and Employment (1997–2001), Health (1997–2001) and International Development (1997–2001). She served on the all-party groups on Child Abduction (1999–2002) and CAFOD (2003-). From June 2007 to October 2008, she served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Health.

In March 2007, Jones praised Gordon Brown's controversial budget, following his promise of increased spending in education. She believed the measures would benefit around 4,200 families and 7,300 children in her constituency. At the same time, she attacked Conservative Party leader David Cameron, stating that Gordon Brown "commanded the Commons, in stark contrast to David Cameron, who was lightweight." [4]

Cabinet positions[edit]

In the cabinet reshuffle of October 2008, Helen Jones was promoted to a junior Government role in the position of Assistant Government Whip.[5] The following day, local newspaper Warrington Guardian reported that Gordon Brown had telephoned her on Sunday, October 5 to offer her the post.[6]

The following day, the Daily Mail reported that the reshuffle had seen a "squad of Gordon Brown's political hitmen" [7] move into the Whips office (one of whom was Jones). In the June 2009 reshuffle Jones was promoted further, becoming Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, one of the Government's more senior whipping roles.

In October 2013 she became shadow home office minister.[8]

Work in Warrington North[edit]

Helen Jones lives in Warrington North with her family, in the village of Culcheth, and employs her husband her as parliamentary assistant.[9]

In early 2007, Jones slammed Scottish Power Manweb for its treatment of bereaved relatives of dead customers when the company continued to send bills to a deceased relative's home. She stated in the Commons that "Scottish Power Manweb's policy is a blatant attempt to obtain money for electricity which has not been used." [10]

In the latter part of 2007, Jones backed the campaign to save Woolston High School, after Warrington Borough Council announced plans to close the Warrington North school.

Helen Jones has engaged in a fierce war of words with Warrington Borough Council on numerous occasions, beginning when she obtained emails that revealed the council's Chief Executive had explored the possibility of legal action against her following an Adjournment Debate in the Commons (where Jones had accused the council of failing to answer her letters on concerns raised by Warrington North constituents). Helen condemned the council's threat as a "waste of time and money", reminding them that any comments made in the House enjoy legal protection. She claimed that the council's threat to sue her for defamation "raised questions about the competence" of council officers.[11]

Jones responded to the threat in the Liverpool Daily Post by stating: "Maybe they think it will shut me up – but it won't. I will continue to speak up for my constituents." [11]

In the same year, Jones made local headlines when she posed with a cardboard cut out of the council's Chief Executive in protest at her alleged failure to tackle important community issues, including anti-social behaviour in the Orford area.[11] She accused the council of "showing disrespect" to people in the north of the town and told the Warrington Guardian at the time that: "Our Chief Executive appears to have gone missing." [12]

In June 2008, Warrington's first energy-saving wind turbine was launched at the headquarters of the North West Regional Development Agency in the town. Helen Jones joined the NWDA's Chief Executive, Steven Broomhead, and local media to officially launch the turbine.[13]

Voting record[edit]

How Helen Jones voted on key issues since 2001 (They Work For You):

  • Voted for introducing a smoking ban.
  • Voted for introducing ID cards.
  • Voted against introducing foundation hospitals.
  • Voted against introducing student top-up fees.
  • Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
  • Voted for the Iraq war.
  • Voted against investigating the Iraq war.
  • Voted for replacing Trident.
  • Voted for the hunting ban.
  • Voted for equal gay rights.
  • Voted for Digital Economy Bill

Personal life[edit]

She married Michael Vobe on July 23, 1988 in Cheshire and has one son, born June 1989.

External links[edit]

News items[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  2. ^ "Ask Aristotle: Helen Jones". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-05-31. [dead link]
  3. ^ http://www.epolitix.com/mpwebsites/mpwebsitepage/mpsite/helen-jones/mppage/biography-60/?no_cache=1
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Labour,Politics". The Guardian (London). 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2010-05-04. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Helen Jones wins junior post (From Warrington Guardian)". Warringtonguardian.co.uk. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  7. ^ "Brown's bruisers move into the whips' office sending wave of fear around Labour MPs". Daily Mail (London). 6 October 2008. 
  8. ^ "MP Helen Jones promoted in reshuffle (From Warrington Guardian)". Warringtonguardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  9. ^ House of Commons. "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ a b c Williams, Liza. "Legal threat in MP's spat with council chief - Liverpool News - News". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  12. ^ [3][dead link]
  13. ^ Published 3 June 2008 7:30 am (2008-06-03). "Town's first wind turbine officially launched". Warrington-worldwide.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Doug Hoyle
Member of Parliament for Warrington North
1997–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Claire Ward
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Mark Francois