Cllr Ashton was educated locally at Clifton College and then the London College of Business Studies. He then went on to work for the British Printing Corporation, Dalgety and the Imperial Group. After working in London and the USA, he moved to North Somerset in 1986. His business experience has enabled him to play a major role in improving the cost effectiveness of the local council. He has also served as a non-executive director of the local NHS Primary Care Trust and Chairman of the training academy.
He was first elected as councillor for the Gordano Ward in 1991 and became Leader of the Conservative Group in November 2006. He has been Leader of North Somerset Council since May 2007.
He enjoys reading, golf and walking through the Gordano Valley and along the coastal paths. He is determined to continue to protect the local environment and countryside.