Darren Jones (politician)

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Darren Jones

Official portrait of Darren Jones crop 2.jpg
Jones in 2017
Chair of the Business, Energy and
Industrial Strategy Select Committee
Assumed office
6 May 2020
Preceded byRachel Reeves
Member of Parliament
for Bristol North West
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded byCharlotte Leslie
Majority5,692 (10.2%)
Personal details
Born
Darren Paul Jones

(1986-11-13) 13 November 1986 (age 33)
Bristol, England
Political partyLabour
Other political
affiliations
Future Britain Group
Spouse(s)Lucy Symons-Jones
Children2
Alma materUniversity of Plymouth
University of the West
of England

University of Law

Darren Paul Jones (born 13 November 1986)[1] is a British Labour politician serving as Chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee since 2020. He has been the Member of Parliament for Bristol North West since 2017.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Jones was born in north Bristol, at Southmead Hospital, and grew up in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton.[3] He attended Avon Primary School and Portway Community School [4] and studied for A Levels at the Bristol Post-16 Centre before going up to the University of Plymouth, where he received a bioscience degree and was subsequently elected President of the Students' Union.[5]

Jones worked in the National Health Service in Bristol and Plymouth, including at the Southmead and Henbury Family Practice.[4] He served as a governor on the boards of Plymouth University and the Plymouth NHS Trust, and had a weekly newspaper column in the Plymouth Herald.

Jones later resumed his studies at the University of the West of England, where he was awarded a postgraduate law degree before completing his legal education at the University of Law.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Jones specialises in technology law, and initially worked at Womble Bond Dickinson LLP in Bristol, where he developed an advisory practice in the energy and telecommunications sectors, later moving to London to become an in-house counsel with BT,[5] advising on data, privacy, cyber-security, telecommunications and consumer law.[6]

In Bristol, Jones started a successful mentoring programme seeking to bring young people from his old school in Lawrence Weston into the legal profession. He later chaired the Young Lawyers’ Network, a nationwide group campaigning for a vote to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum,[7] and sat on the board of UK Legal Futures, which brought together leading lawyers to advise politicians and civil servants on legal questions raised by Brexit.[8]

Early political career[edit]

Jones fought what he identifies as his first campaign while at school, in a push to prevent the planned closure of his local sixth-form college. He chaired his university's Labour Students branch and, following internships with local MPs Alison Seabeck and Linda Gilroy, was selected as Labour's candidate in the Conservative-held Torridge and West Devon seat at the 2010 general election. Jones sat on the national youth committees of the Co-operative Party and Unite the Union and was later elected to Unite's Regional Committee in the South West.[9]

In 2012 Jones was selected to contest his home constituency of Bristol North West, which had been gained by the Conservatives in 2010 with Labour falling into third place. At the subsequent election in 2015, Jones emphasised the need for investment in the National Health Service as well as his local credentials — he would have been, and later became, the constituency's first MP to be born and raised there. Although Jones increased the Labour vote share by 9 percent, the incumbent MP Charlotte Leslie was re-elected on the back of a national swing to the Conservatives.

Following the election, Jones joined the campaign of Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham as its South West Co-ordinator, and chaired Marvin Rees’ successful campaign to become Mayor of Bristol.[10] In 2016 he joined the Remain campaign in the EU membership referendum and later worked for the Clinton campaign in Miami during that year’s US Presidential election.[11]

Parliamentary career and political positions[edit]

At 2017’s snap general election, Jones took an absolute majority of the vote on a 9.2 percent swing,[12] a surprise victory he credits in part to his outspoken opposition to Brexit in the heavily remain-voting constituency. In his maiden speech, Jones noted that he was the first Darren ever elected to Parliament.[13]

Jones was re-elected at the 2019 general election, bucking the national trend by increasing his majority at an election which saw a significant nationwide swing to the Conservatives [14]. In the subsequent leadership election, he nominated Jess Phillips and, following her withdrawal from the race, backed Keir Starmer.

In Parliament, Jones has spoken about the persistence of gender inequality and prevalence of sexual harassment.[15][16] and was an active supporter for the introduction of proxy voting in the House of Commons to allow MPs to take parental leave[17]. On 19 February 2019 he led a Westminster Hall debate calling for universal state funded childcare[18]. Jones is the Chair of Labour Friends of India,[19] and a parliamentary supporter of Labour Friends of Israel[20].

Following Starmer's election as Labour leader in April 2020, Jones was appointed PPS jointly to Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy and Shadow Attorney General Charlie Falconer,[21] and served until his election as Chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on 6th May. In his capacity as a committee chair Jones sits on the National Security Strategy Joint Committee and Liaison Committee.

Technology[edit]

Drawing on his expertise as a technology lawyer, Jones is recognised as one of the most active parliamentarians on technology policy [22][23].

He is a member of the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and as chair of the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR)[24] and the Vice Chair (International) of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence. In Parliament, Jones lead a debate in Westminster Hall on the ethical and other implications of developments in facial recognition technology[25] and is leading a Private Members Bill on the regulation of forensics and biometrics technology[26].

In 2019, Jones published a pamphlet – called “Labour and the next Recession” – advocating for an increase in government spending to pre-empt a recession he predicted would take place in 2020 or 2021. In the pamphlet, Jones called for spending to be prioritised on technology adoption across the private and public sector to deal with economic productivity and decarbonisation[27].

Jones also runs Labour Digital, a centre-left think tank focusing on technology issues; and founded the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, a global not-for-profit network of legislators engaged in discussions around the regulation of AI technologies. In addition to this role, he also helps lead the OECD's AI Observatory as a Global Parliamentary Network AI champion.

Climate change[edit]

Jones has spoken repeatedly in Parliament about the urgency of tackling climate change — securing an adjournment debate in November 2018, the first on the topic in that Parliamentary session ⁠— and acted as the lead member on the Science and Technology Committee's inquiry on decarbonisation and clean growth. He frequently makes the case for greater interchange between technology and climate policy and advocates for technological solutions to climate issues. He is a Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Human trafficking[edit]

Jones has sought to raise awareness of the need to eradicate modern slavery.[28] He is a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association champion, working with counterparts across Commonwealth legislatures to build better multilateral frameworks for tackling human trafficking, and has led delegations to East Africa (helping to secure legislative changes as part of support provided by the British government to Kenya) and across the Asia Pacific Region.

Constituency issues[edit]

Locally Jones has campaigned for greater strategic investment in affordable housing and public transport across Bristol North West, for instance championing local rail projects such as the Henbury Loop Line,[29] and launched a comprehensive North Bristol Transport and Housing Plan in January 2019[30].

Jones has also drawn attention to the impact of spending cuts, speaking out against library closures and in favour of greater school and sixth form funding, and has repeatedly voted against reductions in the local government grant. He has campaigned on a wide range of other issues including access to childcare for working parents and public sector investment in education, health and frontline policing. He is a frequent champion of workers during industrial disputes, such as the hostile takeover of GKN by Melrose, and took a leading role in successfully securing £12m from AstraZeneca for former employees following the closure of its site in north Bristol[31][32][33]. Jones has worked closely with local stakeholders to raise the challenges associated with industrial pollution, especially when associated with the processing of waste.

Following his election, Jones set up the Henacre Trust charitable fund, named after the street in Lawrence Weston where he grew up; the Trust awards grants to unlock educational and career opportunities for young people from poorer backgrounds in Bristol North West. In 2019 Jones was nominated for a Patchwork Foundation People's Choice MP of the Year Award for his work in engaging with his constituents through coffee mornings, 'pub politics' sessions, street stalls, town hall-style briefings and popular weekly Q&A sessions live-streamed on Facebook.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Jones is married to renewable energy lobbyist and technology entrepreneur Lucy Symons-Jones, who co-founded renewable energy company Village Infrastructure. They have two daughters, and Jones has called for the implementation of electronic or proxy voting in the House of Commons[35] to make Parliament a more attractive workplace for new parents.[36]

Jones is a jazz saxophonist and a vegan,[37] also serving as vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jones, Darren Paul". Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 13 February 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ "Darren Jones MP". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  3. ^ Ashcroft, Esme (9 June 2017). "Who is Darren Jones? All about the Labour candidate who won Bristol North West in the 2017 general election". Bristol Post. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "About Me". Darren Jones. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Darren Jones – BSc (Hons) Human Biosciences graduate". University of Plymouth. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Breakfast with Darren Jones MP". GBx. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Young lawyers campaign to keep Britain in Europe". Medium. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  8. ^ "In-House to in the House". Legal 500. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  9. ^ "PPC Profile: Darren Jones". Labour List. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  10. ^ Jones, Darren. "From disinterest and fear to hope: why I'm backing Owen Smith for leader". Labour List. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  11. ^ Pipe, Ellie. "A Day with Bristol North West MP Darren Jones". B24/7. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Bristol North West". BBC. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Bristol MP Darren Jones hails himself 'first Darren in Parliament'". BBC News. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  14. ^ https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/darren-jones-bristol-north-west-3640225
  15. ^ Daly, Patrick (2017-10-31). "MPs 'gagging media over sexual harassment allegations'". bristolpost. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  16. ^ "Bristol MP on the fight for gender equality". Bristol 24/7. 2017-12-06. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  17. ^ https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristols-darren-jones-wants-change-922718
  18. ^ https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-02-19/debates/18149229-C56C-400E-ACBA-2B0226C50AD3/FreeChildcareCostsAndBenefits?highlight=darren%20jones%20child#contribution-38CDED49-70D6-4362-990F-115D8896B6C1
  19. ^ https://www.labourfriendsofindia.co.uk/team
  20. ^ http://www.lfi.org.uk/in-parliament/
  21. ^ https://www.politicshome.com/members/article/new-appointments-this-week-in-uk-politics-the-civil-service-and-public-affairs-73959
  22. ^ Dheensa, Sandi; Cox, Michael. "Artificial Intelligence, robots, and the future of society". Bristol Cable. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Labour Digital". Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  24. ^ "The Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum Officers | PICTFOR". Pictfor. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  25. ^ "Watch: Darren leads debate on facial recognition technology". darren-jones.co.uk. 13 June 2019.
  26. ^ https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/forensicscienceregulatorandbiometricsstrategy.html
  27. ^ http://darren-jones.co.uk/the-next-recession-and-labours-response/
  28. ^ Bartlett, Nicola (2017-10-26). "A male MP has spoken with painted nails in the House of Commons". mirror. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  29. ^ http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/we-can-prevent-gridlock-opening-859848
  30. ^ http://darren-jones.co.uk/transport-plan/
  31. ^ http://darren-jones.co.uk/watch-darren-presses-government-over-avlon-redundancies/
  32. ^ https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/astrazeneca-must-cough-up-ex-staff-s-redundancy-lzrv6gk3j
  33. ^ http://darren-jones.co.uk/avara/
  34. ^ @UKPatchwork (30 July 2019). "Congratulations @darrenpjones on being shortlisted for our #MPoftheYearAwards" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ Daly, Patrick (2017-12-13). "This change could let new mums and dads take time off more easily". bristolpost. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  36. ^ "Watch: Darren makes case for a family-friendly Parliament". darren-jones.co.uk. 13 June 2019.
  37. ^ Pipe, Ellie. "Brexit is top priority for Bristol's Newest MP". B24/7. Retrieved 26 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charlotte Leslie
Member of Parliament
for Bristol North West

2017–present
Incumbent