The Lord Oates
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
5 October 2015
Life Peerage
Personal details
Jonathan Oates
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Spouse(s)David Hill [1]
OccupationChief of Staff to Nick Clegg

Jonathan Oates, Baron Oates (born 28 December 1969)[2] is a British Liberal Democrat politician and member of the House of Lords. A past Chief of Staff to the former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, he was previously the Director of Policy and Communications at the Liberal Democrats.


Oates began his career as an account manager at political and media relations firm Westminster Strategy. In 1994, he stood as a Liberal Democrat councillor for Grove ward in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. During his time as a councillor, he served as Deputy Leader, helped create a structure for giving power to local residents, and gained national exposure for proposing a conference motion on council control over the National Health Service.[3][4] Oates remained in local and national politics, serving as an election agent for Edward Davey, a winning candidate at the 1997 General Election.

In 1999, Oates took a position at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy where he was assigned to a role as a political and media adviser to the Inkatha Freedom Party in the South African Parliament, advising Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Reverend Musa Zondi.

Oates returned to the UK in 2001 as a policy and communications co-ordinator at the Youth Justice Board, advising chairman Lord Warner. He also became an associate at Mark Bolland & Associates, the public affairs company set up by Deputy Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, Mark Bolland. In 2004 Oates became a director at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. He was later appointed as director of policy and communications for the Liberal Democrats and in 2009 was given the role of director of General Election communications for the 2010 General Election.[5]

After the formation of the coalition government, Oates was appointed deputy communications adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron and in August 2010 became Chief of Staff to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.[6]

In 2010, Oates stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Coombe Hill on Kingston upon Thames Council and was rated by the Daily Telegraph in September 2010 as the fifth "most influential" Liberal Democrat.[7] He was created a life peer on 5 October 2015, taking the title Baron Oates of Denby Grange in the County of West Yorkshire.[8]

Personal life

Oates' father is the Reverend Canon John Oates, formerly rector of St Bride's Church on Fleet Street.[9]

Oates studied at Marlborough College and the University of Exeter, where one of his best friends was Thom Yorke who went on to become the lead singer of Radiohead.

In 2006, Oates entered into a civil partnership with David Hill.[10]


  1. ^ Oates, Jonny (2020). I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781785905728.
  2. ^ "Biography for Lord Oates". MyParliament. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  3. ^ Timmins, Nicholas (21 September 1995). "Health vote is branded `mad' by MP". The Independent. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Revolt Gives Councillors Seats on NHS Bodies", The Guardian, p8, 21 September 1995
  5. ^ Watt, Nicholas (5 April 2010). "Election 2010: 10 key figures in each main party". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  6. ^ "London's 1000 most influential people 2010: Politics". The Evening Standard. 26 November 2010. Archived from the original on 23 January 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 25-1". The Daily Telegraph. 21 September 2010. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  8. ^ "notice 2413339". The London Gazette.
  9. ^ "John Oates | Diocese of London". Diocese of London. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Oates, Baron, (Jonathan Oates)". Who's Who 2019. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Lansley
Baron Oates
Followed by
The Lord Lupton