Jonathan Michael Graham Ashworth (born 14 October 1978) is a British Labour and Co-operative party politician re-elected as the Member of Parliament] for Leicester South in 2017 General Election. 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. He was an adviser to Gordon Brown and head of party relations for Edward Miliband.
He is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, shadowing Jeremy Hunt, having been appointed to the role by Jeremy Corbyn in October 2016.
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. 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.
From 2004 he was appointed as Special Adviser to Chief Secretaries to the Treasury Paul Boateng, Des Browne 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.
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. There was speculation later that year that Ashworth might be selected to replace John Prescott as Labour candidate for Kingston upon Hull East, although it came to nothing. Ashworth spent most of the Crewe and Nantwich byelection campaign in the constituency.
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 Edward Miliband's team on the day after Miliband won the Labour leadership election in 2010.
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. Ashworth was then identified as a potential candidate for Nottingham East when sitting MP John Heppell retired, but the selection went to former MP Chris Leslie when the Labour National Executive Committee chose to impose Leslie at the last minute.
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.
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.
On 11 July 2013, Ashworth replaced Tom Watson on the National Executive Committee.
Following his election as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Ashworth to the Shadow Cabinet role of Shadow Minister without Portfolio. He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Health in October 2016. He has gone on record to say that a Labour government would not repeal the controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012 despite Labour's 2017 manifesto commitment to do just that.
In December 2015, Ashworth voted against the resolution to authorise RAF bombing of Syria.