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The Baroness Corston
Official portrait of Baroness Corston 2020 crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
In office
11 July 2001 – 24 May 2005
LeaderTony Blair
Preceded byClive Soley
Succeeded byAnn Clwyd
Member of Parliament
for Bristol East
In office
9 April 1992 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byJonathan Sayeed
Succeeded byKerry McCarthy
Personal details
Jean Ann Parkin

(1942-05-05) 5 May 1942 (age 80)
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Christopher Corston
Peter Townsend
Children2 - Sarah and David
Alma materLondon 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 Bachelor of Laws 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.[1]

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, whether they should be there at all.[2] 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[3] and has largely informed government policy on the matter.[4] 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.[5]


  1. ^ "No. 57692". The London Gazette. 4 July 2005. p. 8639.
  2. ^ "The Guardian". 2 May 2006. Archived from the original on 24 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  3. ^ "The Corston Report: a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. ^ Government response to the Corston Review Report:
  5. ^ Clark, Tom (9 June 2009). "Peter Townsend". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byJonathan Sayeed Member of Parliament for Bristol East 19922005 Succeeded byKerry McCarthy Political offices Preceded byClive Soley Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party 2001–2005 Succeeded byAnn Clwyd