Ashley was born in 1969 and grew up in Malvern in Worcestershire. He was educated at The King's School, Worcester.
He studied law at Bristol Polytechnic before working for a year as an English assistant in France. Ashley took his solicitors finals at Chester College of law. After completing his articles, he qualified as a solicitor in 1994.
Ashley now lives in Bristol with his wife and two children. He is an Associate of Morgan Cole, where he specialises in insurance litigation.
Ashley fought the Parliamentary seat of Bath at the 2001 General Election. He has been the Councillor for Westbury-on-Trym on Bristol City council since 2002.
Ashley has chaired both the Council's Education scrutiny commission and the Planning committee. He now chairs the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission which oversees the scrutiny function of the authority