Kevan Jones

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Kevan Jones
Shadow Minister for Defence
Assumed office
12 May 2010
Leader Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Andrew Robathan
Minister for Defence
In office
5 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Derek Twigg
Succeeded by Andrew Robathan
Member of Parliament
for North Durham
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Giles Radice
Majority 12,076 (29.5%)
Personal details
Born (1964-04-25) 25 April 1964 (age 51)
Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Residence Sacriston
Alma mater University of Southern Maine, Newcastle Polytechnic

Kevan David Jones (born 25 April 1964) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Durham since 2001.

Early life[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.

Parliamentary career[edit]

He was 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,[1] successfully passed Parliament, and came into force in December 2004. The Act makes it illegal for large shops to open on Christmas Day.

Kevan Jones 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.

In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.[2] He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014[3]

Ministerial career[edit]

In October 2008 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence.[4]


In August 2009 he was accused of briefing against the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt.[5] General Dannatt had already made himself deeply unpopular with the Labour government over repeated calls for increased funding and support for British troops serving in Afghanistan.[6] Nearing the end of his military service a series of FOI requests were made[7][8] concerning his expenses and Guido Fawkes 'outed' Jones as the culprit, despite Defence Ministers having been ordered by Secretary of State Bob Ainsworth not to brief against CGS. A furious response from the British military community followed particularly on its unofficial discussion website The Army Rumour Service[9] and there was also a backlash from some in the tabloid media.[10] Jones denied the allegations[11] despite calls for him to resign.[12]

Jones described Joanna Lumley's behaviour following her fight for Gurkha rights as "irritating". He said that, having raised the issue and forced the change, Lumley had a responsibility to help explain the new rules to the Gurkhas. She had not done so, he said. She refused to comment.[13] He later apologised, stating that "I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused to Joanna Lumley by my remarks to the Home Affairs Committee – this was not intended."[14]

Mental health[edit]

In 2010 in Parliament, Jones suggested that anyone on his own opposition side who argued that programme motions were not necessary would be an 'idiot' who should be taken away to a 'lunatic asylum'.[15]

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.[16]

In November 2015, after the appointment of the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to co-chair with Maria Eagle the Labour Party's review of replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system, Jones in his capacity as Shadow Junior Defence Minister queried whether Livingstone knew anything about defence. In response, Livingstone told the Daily Mirror in a published interview that Jones was "disturbed" and "should see a GP". Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately told Livingstone to apologise, which Livingstone initially refused to do, although eventually did later that day via Twitter.[17]


  1. ^ "Christmas store ban set to be law". BBC News. 15 October 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill". Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013–14". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "MOD – 2008–2009 annual report and accounts – (Minister for Veterans). Mr Kevan Jones MP. (appointed 5 October 2008)" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Brady, Brian (23 August 2009). "An unpleasant skirmish at the ministry". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Newton-Dunn, Tom (20 August 2009). "Sir Richard Dannatt smear plot storm". The Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Newton-Dunn, Tom (19 August 2009). "Labour plot to smear General Sir Richard Dannatt". The Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "The 'smearing' of General Dannatt". The Army Rumour Service. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Leake, Christopher (23 August 2009). "Anatomy of a smear: How General Dannatt claimed £19,291... and Bob Ainsworth claimed £394,306". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Minister denies Army chief 'plot'". BBC News. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "The loser from the Kevan Jones storm is Gordon Brown". The Spectator. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Kirkup, James (9 March 2010). "Joanna Lumley 'irritates' minister over Gurkhas". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
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External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Giles Radice
Member of Parliament for North Durham