Jenkins was born in 1943 and educated at Mill Hill School and St John's College, Oxford. He worked for Country Life magazine, the Times Educational Supplement and the Evening Standard, before becoming editor of the Sunday Times' Insight page and then editor of the Evening Standard (1976 - 1978). He was political editor of The Economist from 1979 - 1986 and editor of The Times from 1990 - 1992. 
He was board member of British Rail (1979 - 1990), London Transport (1984 - 1986), and deputy chairman of English Heritage (1985 - 1990). He was a member of the Millennium Commission (1994 - 2000) - the body behind the controversial Millennium Dome - and chairman of the Independent Commission on Local Democracy (1994 - 1995). He is currently a member of the Buildings Books Trust, and a trustee of the Somerset House Trust and the Architecture Foundation.  
He was Journalist of the Year in 1988 and Columnist of the Year in 1993. He was knighted in the New Year 2004 honours. 
Jenkins has shares in Abbey National, Emap and Newscorp. 
Views on nuclear
Jenkins is a trenchant critic of wind power and vocal advocate of nuclear. 
On 23 November 2005, for example, he wrote in The Guardian: 'Tony Blair seems to be on the brink of making a really good decision the prime minister intends to invest in nuclear power as part of Britain's future energy mix. Praise be His target is that Britain must make a 20% emissions cut by 2010. There is no way of coming close to such a cut except by recourse to nuclear power. Therefore meeting the target means building new nuclear stations immediately.'
Deploying an argument strikingly similar to that made by the nuclear industry's Brian Wilson in The Observer a few days later, Jenkins continued: 'For Blair to get a new nuclear programme under way before he departs need not involve the delays beloved of his fellow planning lawyers. If John Prescott can give himself permission to build executive houses in green belts, turbines in the Cotswolds and 50-storey flats opposite parliament, Blair can permit a new power station on the site of an old one. Nor is it sensible to attribute to the next generation of power plants the costs, and the risks, of earlier ones. To shout Chernobyl at any nuclear project is like pitting the dangers of Stephenson's Rocket against a TGV.'  
He has urged Blair to build more nuclear power stations - and dismissed wind turbines as 'gimmicks'. 
He has also declared: 'Turbine parks are truly massive, requiring to be serviced by networks of new roads, quarries, pylons and substations across virgin moorland. The saving in greenhouse gas is negligible Ã¢â‚¬â€? less in a year than is exhaled by one transatlantic jet. The subsidies would be infinitely better spent cleaning coal and gas stations, insulating houses and investing in nuclear power.' 
Jenkins appeared at an anti-wind power event in Edinburgh on July 23, 2005. Billed as Scotland's first ever 'neutral debate' on windfarms, the 'National Wind Farm Debate', was organized by the millionaire financier and wind-farm opponent Angus Macdonald. Pro-wind speakers pulled out at the last minute, citing vetting of the audience. A hastily-written covering note in the press pack stated that there had been no vetting, and rubbished Scottish Renewables, one of the companies that had withdrawn from the event. 
Jenkins joined Sir Martin Holdgate, Ian Fells and lawyer John Campbell on the panel. During the debate he stated that he opposes turbines because they are 'completely devastating' parts of the countryside. He said: 'Everyone who is in favour of them [turbines] has money in them'. He advocated nuclear in place of this 'totally crazy innovation'. Summing up, he said 'I start from a position of mild scepticism about global warming.' 
His public support for nuclear dates back more than five years - in March 2001, he wrote in The Times: 'I remain an enthusiast for nuclear power, which does little atmospheric damage and is highly efficient.' 
Like many other proponents of nuclear power, he has also argued that it is an essentially green technology - stating, for instance: 'If you hate carbon you must love nuclear.' 
On Northern Ireland
In 2005, Jenkins wrote:
- When the White House first invited Sinn Fein to its party 10 years ago, I suggested to a presidential aide that this would seem odd to many Britons. Adams was manifestly a force within the Provisional IRA. His organisation had killed about 3000 Britons and tried to wipe out the entire British cabinet, not once but twice.
The Irish Democrat noted that this claim implied that all victims of the Northern Ireland conflict had been killed by the IRA.
- Whereas previously all Catholics killed had become posthumous Protestants, all Irish killed had become posthumous Britons. (Doesn't say much for the productivity of the crown forces and their collusionists over 30 years, does it?)
- Is nuclear power the solution to our energy needs? – five-minute video debate between Simon Jenkins and Craig Bennett, director of policy at Friends of the Earth, Phil Maynard and Angela Page, Length: 5min 05sec, theguardian.com, 28 October 2013
- ^ Biography on BBC Charter review website and biography on Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority website, undated, accessed February 2006.
- ^ Simon Jenkins, 'Better to have nuclear power than a blot on the landscape', The Guardian, October 28, 2005.
- ^ Simon Jenkins, 'At last Blair seems to see that our future is nuclear', The Guardian, November 23, 2005.
- ^ Simon Jenkins, 'A tower block and a wind farm: two hideous monuments to Blairism', The Times, April 20, 2005.
- ^ Simon Jenkins, 'How green are our turbine valleys?', ''The Times'', unavailable online, March 7, 2001.
- ^ Simon Jenkins, 'The ill wind blowing through energy policy', ''The Times'', unavailable online, February 15, 2002.
- ^ 'National Wind Farm Debate', a conference organised by millionaire financier and wind-farm opponent Angus Macdonald in Edinburgh on July 23, 2005.
- Simon Jenkins, An overdue Snub for men of terror, The Times, 19 March 2005.
- Domhnall O'Cinneide, The Pedigree of a Porky, The Irish Democrat, 21 January 2009.