London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Jonathan Ashworth is serving as the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since 2021. Moreover, he is serving as a member of the Labour and Co-operative parties. In 2011, Ashworth was elected to Parliament following the resignation of his predecessor Peter Soulsby. It was after working as an adviser to Gordon Brown and the head of party relations for Ed Miliband.
Jeremy Corbyn was appointed Ashworth Shadow Health Secretary in October 2016, shadowing Jeremy Hunt and later Matt Hancock. The new duty was shared along with Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Social Care. However, the new leader Keir Starmer reappointed Ashworth in April 2020. It gave Jonathan an additional shadow portfolio of social care in England. Ashworth was succeeded by Wes Streeting in 2021 as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.
Early Life & Education
Jonathan Michael Graham Ashworth (born 14 October 1978). He attended Philips High School in Whitefield and Bury College before studying politics and philosophy at Durham University. In 2000, he served as National Secretary of Labour Students. His parents belonged to a middle-class family and he had a lot of interest in this field since his teenage years.
Labor Party Officer (2001-2004)
Jonathan started working as the Labor party officer. He was working as the Politician Research Officer in 2001. Moreover, he worked as the Economics and Welfare Policy Officer from 2002 to 2004. In 2003, he contested the Scottish Parliament election. This is where he had to work closely with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. Many voted in his favor and due to that he was re-elected for a new term altogether. Following the success in these elections, he remained the only Scottish Labor leader at Holyrood. However, his coalition with the Scottish Lib Dems remained quite beneficial.
Following the defeat of the Labour Party at the 2010 general election, he was appointed Political Secretary to Harriet Harman. He remained neutral in the leadership election, due to his role with Harman. However, he was referred to as a “key member” of Ed Miliband’s camp upon Miliband’s victory. Upon being elected as Leader of the Labour Party, he got another big offer. Miliband asked Ashworth to take up the position of Head of Party Relations in his office.
Special Advisor (2004-2011)
Jonathan was appointed as the Special Adviser to Chief Secretaries for the Treasury Paul Boateng, and Des Browne. During this time he worked for Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown as well. He had to take care of the Labor movement and think of plans to help it succeed. The evening standard profile regarding this stated: “his contact book was “stuffed with constituency officers and union organizers”. During the same year, the newspaper speculated that he will soon become the Political Secretary at 10 Downing Street. His role in the future Brown government seems brighter than ever.
After Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007, Ashworth was named deputy Political Secretary. He became responsible for bridging the gap between the Government and the unions. Later that year, Ashworth was speculated to be the official Labour candidate for Kingston upon Hull East, but it never materialized. Crewe and Nantwich was Ashworth’s constituency during the by-election campaign.
He was one of the few people still working in a high-profile Westminster post when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. As a result of his experience at Downing Street during the outbreak of swine flu in 2009 his plans here also succeeded. However, he was not able to contribute as fully since he was in opposition at that time.
Parliamentary Candidate 2011
As an election came nearer, Ashworth was spotted to be someone the Labour Party’s leadership wanted to put forth as a candidate. Word spread that he could contest for the seat of Mansfield if Alan Meale chose not to run again. However, Meale opted for another term in Parliament regardless of the rumors about his supposed retirement. Then, speculation went around that Ashworth was a viable candidate for Nottingham East when John Heppell left. Though the party’s National Executive Committee suddenly selected former MP Chris Leslie instead.
When Peter Soulsby, the sitting MP, decided to resign to run for mayor of Leicester in 2011. Ashworth sought selection in Leicester South. Very convincingly. He was immediately identified as the front-runner for the selection. It was backed by the major trade unions including his own Unite, GMB, and UNISON. He was selected on the first ballot by the local party and held the seat with an increased majority on 5 May 2011. He is also a Co-operative Party MP.
Member of Parliament (2011-Present)
Between October 2011 and October 2013, Ashworth served as Opposition Whip and Shadow Minister of State for the Cabinet Office. Ashworth claimed that it is ordinary people – not unions – who elect Labour MPs following the row over trade union influence. This influence was seen deep in the Falkirk parliamentary selection in 2013. He replaced Tom Watson as Deputy Chairman of the National Executive Committee on 11 July 2013.
After Ed Miliband resigned after the 2015 general election, he nominated Yvette Cooper to be Labour Party Leader. Tom Watson was nominated to be Deputy Leader. Jeremy Corbyn appointed Ashworth to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister without Portfolio after he was elected Labour Party leader. In December 2015, he voted against authorizing the RAF bombing of ISIL in Syria. After the 2017 general election, he revealed that the Labour government would not repeal the controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012. Despite Labour’s manifesto commitment.
Personal Life & Net Worth
Jonathan Ashworth got engaged to Emilie Oldknow, the Labour Party’s East Midlands Regional Director, in 2008. She ran for Labour in Sherwood in 2010 but lost. On 3 July 2010 in Derbyshire, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sarah attended their wedding. In May 2011, shortly after his by-election victory, they had a daughter, Gracie, and a second daughter, Annie. As shadow health secretary, he advocates legislation to prevent alcoholism, inspired by his father’s alcoholism. His net worth is estimated to exceed $5 million.