Helen Jones: Wikis


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Helen Jones MP

Assumed office 
9 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Claire Ward

Member of Parliament
for Warrington North
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by Doug Hoyle
Majority 12,204 (30.2%)

Born 24 December 1954 (1954-12-24) (age 55)
Chester, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Michael Vobe
Alma mater University College London, University of Liverpool
Religion Roman Catholic

Helen Mary Jones (born 24 December 1954, Chester, England) is the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Warrington North.

Jones was first elected at the 1997 General Election and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005. She is described as an "intelligent, battle hardened leftwing solicitor built into the Labour machine"[1] She is currently Vice-Chamberlain of the Household


Early life

Jones was born and brought up in Chester, the daughter of the late Robert Edward Jones and the late Mary Scanlan.[2]

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 1984-1991. 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 Warrington North and the subsequent General Election saw her achieve victory with 62.1% of the vote. This had shrunk to 53.5% in the 2005 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

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.

Her contribution to the Queen’s Speech Debate in 2006 was widely praised by all sides of the House of Commons. Education Secretary Alan Johnson said, "I listened to a number of really good contributions today, but none was better than the speech by the Hon Member for Warrington North. It was one of the most thoughtful and incisive speeches I have heard in the House." [3 ] Opposition MPs described her contribution as "one of the most interesting and eloquent speeches"[3 ] and "one of the best speeches I have heard in this place."[3 ]

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]

In the 2009 controversy over MP's expenses the Daily Telegraph revealed that Ms Lones had "After claiming expenses for one London flat, Miss Jones sold it in 2004 and bought another, billing the taxpayer for about £5,500 in stamp duty and legal fees."

2008 reshuffle

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). The same article reported that the moves had sent "a wave of fear around the Parliamentary Labour Party". In the June 2009 reshuffle Jones was promoted further, becoming Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, one of the Government's more senior whipping roles.

Work in Warrington North

Helen Jones lives in Warrington North with her family, in the village of Culcheth, an area whose three borough councillors are all Tory

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." [8]

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. Ironically,this decision was as a result of Labour Government school funding policy.

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. [9]

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." [9]

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. [9] 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." [10]

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.[11]

Voting record

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.

Personal life

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

External links


News items


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Doug Hoyle
Member of Parliament for Warrington North
Political offices
Preceded by
Claire Ward
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household


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