Jean Corston, Baroness Corston

The Right Honourable
The Baroness Corston
Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
In office
11 July 2001  24 May 2005
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Clive Soley
Succeeded by Ann Clwyd
Member of Parliament
for Bristol East
In office
10 April 1992  11 April 2005
Preceded by Jonathan Sayeed
Succeeded by Kerry McCarthy
Personal details
Born Jean Ann Parkin
(1942-05-05) 5 May 1942
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Christopher Corston
Peter Townsend
Alma mater London School of Economics, Open University

Jean Ann Corston, Baroness Corston, PC (born 5 May 1942) is a British Labour politician.

Early life

Jean Ann Parkin went to Yeovil Girls' High School (now the Westfield Community School) on Stiby Road in Yeovil and the Somerset College of Arts and Technology. She worked at the Inland Revenue. At the London School of Economics, she gained an LLB in 1989. From 1989–90, she studied at the Inns of Court School of Law. She also studied with the Open University. She became a barrister.

Parliamentary career

Corston was Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol East from April 1992 to 2005. Until stepping down at the 2005 general election, she was chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the first woman ever to hold that position.

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that she would be created a life peer, and on 29 June 2005 she was created Baroness Corston, of St George in the County and City of Bristol.

She was commissioned by the Home Office, to conduct a report into vulnerable women in the criminal justice system of the United Kingdom, published in March 2007. It explores the idea that if a lot of women who are in prison are mentally ill then should they be there at all.[1] The report outlines "the need for a distinct radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach". The report is known as the Corston Report[2] and has largely informed government policy on the matter.[3] Progress and improvements by local probation services, the National Probation Service, Her Majesty's Prison service and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) are regularly compared to the recommendations in this report.

Personal life

She married first Christopher Corston in 1961 with whom she had a son and daughter. Her partner from 1980 until he died in 2009 was Peter Townsend, the sociologist. The couple married in Bristol in 1985.[4]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jonathan Sayeed
Member of Parliament for Bristol East
Succeeded by
Kerry McCarthy
Political offices
Preceded by
Clive Soley
Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
Succeeded by
Ann Clwyd
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