Ashley was first elected to the European Parliament in 2009 and was re-elected in May 2014. As a British Conservative he is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). He was appointed Chief Whip of the ECR in 2010 and was reappointed to that position following the 2014 European Elections. Ashley is the Conservative spokesman on Industry, Research & Energy and is a member of that committee in the European Parliament. He is also sits on the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee and the Committee for Constitutional Affairs, where he is the leading British campaigner seeking to scrap the wasteful ‘Strasbourg Circus’ – which costs taxpayers €156m every year. Educated at The King's School, Worcester, Ashley studied law at Bristol Polytechnic before working for a year as an English assistant in France. He took his solicitors finals at Chester College of Law. After completing his articles, he qualified as a Solicitor in 1994. Before being elected as a MEP Ashley worked for 15 years as a Solicitor in Bristol, specialising in Insurance Litigation. He was a Partner at Badhams Thompson and an Associate at Morgan Cole. From 1998 -2000 Ashley was Chairman of Bristol West Conservative Association. He stood as the Conservative candidate for Bath at the General Election in 2001. In 2002 he was elected as Councillor for Westbury-on-Trym on Bristol City Council, a position he held for 8 years. Ashley continues to live in Bristol with his wife and two children.