Reynolds was educated at Codsall High School, near Wolverhampton, followed by Wulfrun Further Education College. She studied at Wadham College at theUniversity of Oxford, where she read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Her father Kevin is a teacher at Concord College, a boarding school nearShrewsbury.
From 2001 to 2004, Reynolds worked in Brussels as a political adviser to Robin Cook then President of the Party of European Socialists. She later worked inDowning Street and the House of Commons as a special advisor to then Minister for Europe and Labour Chief Whip Geoff Hoon.
She was selected as the Labour candidate for the 2010 general election for Wolverhampton North East in September 2008. Despite a 9% swing to theConservatives and a reduction in majority of more than 6000 she held the seat for Labour.
Reynolds has spoken on many issues in the House of Commons since being elected including questions on Building Schools for the Future, free school meals, human trafficking, cuts to police numbers and Mental Health Services. In the summer of 2010 Reynolds was also elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons.
In October 2010, Reynolds was promoted by Labour's new leader, Ed Miliband, to the opposition frontbench, as a shadow junior Foreign Office Minister under the then Shadow Foreign Secretary, Yvette Cooper. After the resignation of then Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson and resulting mini-reshuffle of posts, Reynolds continued working in her post under the new Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander. In October 2011, Emma Reynolds was promoted by Labour leader, Ed Miliband, to the position of Shadow Europe Minister.
In October 2013, Reynolds was promoted by Ed Miliband to the position of Shadow Housing Minister, replacing Jack Dromey.
She is Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary China Group and secretary for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, as well as Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking.
In an 1 October 2012 interview with Total Politics she called for the eurozone countries to integrate more closely. She also she said she had differing opinions with Jon Cruddas, Labour's policy review chief, on whether having a referendum on the EU was a priority.