Jon Ashworth

For other people named John Ashworth, see John Ashworth (disambiguation).
Jon Ashworth
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Assumed office
7 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Diane Abbott
Shadow Minister without Portfolio
In office
14 September 2015  7 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Jon Trickett
Succeeded by Andrew Gwynne
Deputy Chair of the Labour Party
Assumed office
11 July 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Tom Watson
Member of Parliament
for Leicester South
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Preceded by Peter Soulsby
Majority 17,845 (38.9%)
Personal details
Born (1978-10-14) 14 October 1978
Salford, England, UK
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Emilie Oldknow
Children 2
Alma mater Durham University
Website Official website

Jonathan Michael Graham Ashworth (born 14 October 1978) is a British Labour and Co-operative party politician and the Member of Parliament for Leicester South. He was elected to the seat in a by-election on 5 May 2011 following the resignation of his predecessor Peter Soulsby who stepped down to run for office as Mayor of Leicester.[1] He was an adviser to Gordon Brown and head of party relations for Ed Miliband,[2] and is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Health


Ashworth was born in Salford, raised in north Manchester and educated at Philips High School in Bury and Bury College[3] before studying at the University of Durham.[4] In 2000 he served as National Secretary of Labour Students.[5]

Political career

Labour party officer

Ashworth began working for the Labour Party as a Political Research Officer in 2001, and was the Economics and Welfare Policy Officer from 2002 to 2004.[6] In 2003 he was seconded to Scottish Labour Party to work on the Scottish Parliament election campaign where he worked closely with Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Special adviser

From 2004 he was appointed as Special Adviser to Chief Secretaries to the Treasury Paul Boateng, Des Browne[7] and Stephen Timms, but in practice he worked for Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown. His main job was liaising with the Labour movement and an Evening Standard profile said "his contact book was "stuffed with constituency officers and union organisers", and there was newspaper speculation that he would be Political Secretary at 10 Downing Street in a Brown government.[8]

When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007, Ashworth was appointed deputy Political Secretary with the role of linking the Government to the trade unions.[5] There was speculation later that year that Ashworth might be selected to replace John Prescott as Labour candidate for Kingston upon Hull East,[9] although it came to nothing. Ashworth spent most of the Crewe and Nantwich byelection campaign in the constituency.[10]

After the Labour Party left government in May 2010, Ashworth became Political Secretary to the acting party leader Harriet Harman. He did not publicly support any candidate in subsequent leadership election because of his role working for Harriet Harman but he was described as a "key member" of Ed Miliband's team on the day after Miliband won the Labour leadership election.[11] When Miliband won, he asked Ashworth to join his office as Head of Party Relations.[2]

Parliamentary candidate

With a general election imminent, Ashworth was identified as someone who the Labour Party leadership wished to find a seat for. He was linked with a possible candidature in Mansfield should the sitting MP Alan Meale decide to stand down, but Meale decided to stand for re-election despite widespread speculation he was to announce his retirement. He was then identified as a potential candidate for Nottingham East when sitting MP John Heppell retired,[12] but the selection went to former MP Chris Leslie when the Labour National Executive Committee chose to impose Leslie at the last minute.[13]

Ashworth sought selection in Leicester South in 2011 when the sitting MP Sir Peter Soulsby decided to resign to seek election as Mayor of Leicester. He was immediately identified as the front-runner for the selection and was backed by the major trade unions including his own Unite, GMB and UNISON.

Ashworth was also endorsed by the Co-Operative Party and is also a Co-Operative Party MP.[14] He was selected on the first ballot by the local party, and held the seat with an increased majority on 5 May 2011.[15]

Labour Party Selections

Following the row over alleged undue influence of trade unions in the Labour Party in the Falkirk Parliamentary Selection in 2013, Ashworth penned a piece for the Daily Telegraph claiming that it is ordinary people – not the unions – who choose Labour MPs.[16]

On 11 July 2013, Ashworth replaced Tom Watson on the National Executive Committee.[17]

Labour Opposition 2015 –

Ashworth speaking at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

Ashworth nominated Yvette Cooper to be Leader of the Labour Party in its election following the resignation of Ed Miliband in May 2015.[18] He nominated Tom Watson as Deputy Leader.[19]

Following his election as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Ashworth to the Shadow Cabinet role of Shadow Minister without Portfolio.[20] He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Health in October 2016.

In December 2015, Ashworth voted against the resolution to authorise RAF bombing of Syria.[21]

Personal life

Ashworth became engaged to Emilie Oldknow, the East Midlands Regional Director for the Labour Party, in 2008. She was Labour candidate for Sherwood in the 2010 election, but could not hold the seat.[22] Gordon and Sarah Brown attended their wedding on 3 July 2010 in Derbyshire.[23] They have a daughter, Gracie, born in May 2011 shortly after his election,[24] and a second child.


  1. "Labour candidate wins Leicester South by-election". BBC News. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  2. 1 2 Troughton, Adrian (21 March 2011). "Labour candidate Ashworth promises to be a 'champion' for city if he wins by-election". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  3. "Ashworth, Jonathan Michael Graham". Who's Who 2012 (online ed.). A & C Black. 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  4. "Your Strong Voice for Leicester South: Jon Ashworth: Standing to be your new MP". Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  5. 1 2 "Bright young things beavering away for Team Brown". London Evening Standard. 27 June 2007.
  6. "Jon Ashworth MP". BBC Democracy Live. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  7. "The Times guide to the Government". The Times. London. 13 May 2005.
  8. "Gordon gets his team prepared to take over No 10". London Evening Standard. 6 September 2006.
  9. "Who's in the running to succeed Prescott?". Hull Daily Mail. 22 August 2007.
  10. Hinsliff, Gaby (25 May 2008). "Labour in Turmoil: Is this the beginning of the end for Brown?". The Observer. London.
  11. Elliott, Francis; Smyth, Chris (27 September 2010). "Dallas and demand management: what really does it for Ed". The Times. London.
  12. Walker, Charles (3 April 2010). "MP calls it a day after a royal time". Nottingham Evening Post.
  13. Brady, Brian (11 April 2010). "Activists threaten rebellion as Brown helps secure seat for ally". Independent on Sunday. London. p. 10.
  14. "Labour is to reveal MP candidates". Leicester Mercury. 17 March 2011.
  15. Troughton, Adrian (7 May 2011). "Great day for Labour capped by victory in by-election". Leicester Mercury.
  16. Ashworth, Jon (4 July 2013). "Labour's links to the trade unions? I'm proud of them". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  17. Ferguson, Mark (11 July 2013). "Jonathan Ashworth to replace Tom Watson on Labour's NEC". LabourList. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  18. Martin, Dan (9 June 2015). "Jon Ashworth backs Yvette Cooper over city neighbour Liz Kendall in Labour leadership race". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  19. "Who nominated who in the 2015 Labour deputy leadership election?". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  20. Martin, Dan (14 September 2015). "Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth becomes Jeremy Corbyn's shadow minister without portfolio". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  21. Martin, Dan (3 December 2015). "Jon Ashworth the only MP from Leicester and Leicestershire to vote against Syria air strikes". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  22. Parsons, Rob (8 May 2010). "Farmer Mark in a thriller at dawn". Nottingham Evening Post.
  23. "Guest Appearance". The Sunday Telegraph. London. 4 July 2010.
  24. "Oh baby! Joy for city's new MP as Gracie born". Leicester Mercury. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2016.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Soulsby
Member of Parliament
for Leicester South

Party political offices
Preceded by
Tom Watson
Deputy Chair of the Labour Party
Political offices
Preceded by
Jon Trickett
Shadow Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by
Andrew Gwynne
Preceded by
Diane Abbott
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
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