Born in Leeds in 1950, Paul Jackson was educated at schools in Leeds, London and Manchester. In 1969 he went up to the University of St Andrews where he took a degree in French Language and Literature.
After graduation, he joined the Royal Navy in 1973 as a Supply and Secretariat Officer. He saw service at home and abroad in frigates and destroyers. He was also ADC to the Governor of Gibraltar for eighteen months in the early 1980s, and in his last sea job he spent two years in the Royal Yacht Britannia as the personal staff officer to the Flag Officer Royal Yachts. He served twice in the Ministry of Defence, in the fields of personnel and logistics. During his career he also attended the Royal Naval Staff College and the Joint Service Defence College.
On leaving the Royal Navy in 1996, he joined the United Kingdom Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, based at the Houses of Parliament. He organised parliamentary seminars, conferences and visits in support of the Association’s aim of promoting parliamentary democracy and good governance across the Commonwealth, and beyond. He also visited parts of the Commonwealth that he had not seen during his naval service, such as Australia, New Zealand, Malawi and St Helena.
He retired from Westminster earlier this year and joined the Board of the Human Trafficking Foundation in June. He is a trustee of Beating Bowel Cancer, a charity that raises awareness of the disease and offers support to patients, and he chairs the De Morgan Foundation, which runs a museum in South London dedicated to the ceramics of William De Morgan and the paintings of his wife Evelyn De Morgan.