Jon Ashworth

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For other people named John Ashworth, see John Ashworth (disambiguation).
Jon Ashworth
Jon Ashworth MP.jpg
Shadow Minister without Portfolio
Assumed office
14 September 2015
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Jon Trickett
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 (age 36)
Salford, United Kingdom
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 is a former adviser to Gordon Brown and head of party relations for Ed Miliband.[2]


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[edit]

Labour party officer[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]

Personal life[edit]

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.[18] Gordon and Sarah Brown attended their wedding on 3 July 2010 in Derbyshire.[19] They have a daughter, Gracie, born in May 2011 shortly after his election,[20] and a second child.


  1. ^ "Labour candidate wins Leicester South by-election". BBC News (BBC). 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Troughton, Adrian (21 March 2011). "Labour candidate Ashworth promises to be a 'champion' for city if he wins by-election". Leicester Mercury (Northcliffe Media). Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  3. ^ ASHWORTH, Jonathan Michael Graham profile, Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2011; accessed 3 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Your Strong Voice for Leicester South: Jon Ashworth: Standing to be your new MP". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Bright young things beavering away for Team Brown", 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, 13 May 2005.
  8. ^ "Gordon gets his team prepared to take over No 10", Evening Standard, 6 September 2006.
  9. ^ "Who's in the running to succeed Prescott?", Hull Daily Mail, 22 August 2007.
  10. ^ Gaby Hinsliff, "Labour in Turmoil: Is this the beginning of the end for Brown?", The Observer, 25 May 2008.
  11. ^ Francis Elliott, Chris Smyth, "Dallas and demand management: what really does it for Ed", The Times, 27 September 2010.
  12. ^ Charles Walker, "MP calls it a day after a royal time", Nottingham Evening Post, 3 April 2010.
  13. ^ Brian Brady, "Activists threaten rebellion as Brown helps secure seat for ally", Independent on Sunday, 11 April 2010, p 10.
  14. ^ "Labour is to reveal MP candidates", Leicester Mercury, 17 March 2011.
  15. ^ Adrian Troughton, "Great day for Labour capped by victory in by-election", Leicester Mercury, 7 May 2011.
  16. ^ Jon Ashworth MP (4 July 2013). "Labour's links to the trade unions? I'm proud of them". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Rob Parsons, "Farmer Mark in a thriller at dawn", Nottingham Evening Post, 8 May 2010.
  19. ^ "Guest Appearance", The Sunday Telegraph, 4 July 2010.
  20. ^ "Oh baby! Joy for city's new MP as Gracie born", Leicester Mercury, 23 May 2011.

External links[edit]

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