Prior to becoming President of Lucy Cavendish College in September 2015, Jackie Ashley worked for more than 30 years at Westminster as a prominent political journalist and broadcaster. Jackie has sat on various influential commissions and boards and regularly chairs conferences.
Her career started in 1979, as a BBC trainee. A rich and varied working life has followed, including roles such as Producer and Newsreader on Newsnight, Political Correspondent with ITN, Channel 4 politics producer, Presenter of several political programmes on BBC2 and ITV and Political Editor at the New Statesman.
In her previous role – as a Columnist and Political Interviewer at The Guardian – Jackie has covered Labour, Conservative and Coalition politics, women’s rights, the media and public services, with a particular focus on health. She has also closely followed the weekly political argument as the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster.
A graduate of St Anne’s College, Oxford, Jackie is acutely aware of how education transforms real lives. Her own father, Jack Ashley, Baron Ashley of Stoke, left school at 14 and worked as a labourer, but won a scholarship to Ruskin College Oxford, followed by Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. Ultimately this opportunity enabled him to pursue his political ambitions as a Labour MP and campaigner, despite completely losing his hearing.
Growing up in a home centred around politics made a lasting impression on Jackie. As well as forging a career in the field, she too has been a passionate campaigner on issues such as equal pay, support for carers, the elderly and the NHS.
At home, Jackie is married to journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr and as a mother of three, she is experienced in the tricky art of combining family life with a successful career.