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It's a busy schedule working as the MP for Leicester South. We try to make sure we keep everyone up-to-date with important issues, topics that affect constituents. We do this with regular updates on the website, including this page, where we highlight news items.
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Jon Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Labour MP for Leicester South, raises concerns of his constituent in the commons

February 21 2018

Today in The Commons the Secretary of State for Health gave a Ministerial Statement on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

This Statement, which is an acknowledgement of failings in the investigation of a series of public health scandals by the Government, covers the pregnancy test drug Primodos, the use of vaginal mesh implants and the anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate.

Speaking after the Statement, Jon responded: “I welcome the tone of his remarks and generally welcome his commitment to a review of medical device safety, although I note that the 2017 Labour manifesto called for an inquiry into medical devices and product licensing and regulation. Today’s announcement is an acknowledgement that there are major problems, going back decades, to do with safety and lack of proper scrutiny and research.”

 “I am grateful to the Secretary of State for including sodium valproate. My constituent, Emma Friedmann, took sodium valproate during and after her pregnancy, leaving her son, Andrew, with severe autism along with hearing and sight problems. Andrew, who is now 18, needs round-the-clock, full-time care. Emma, like thousands of others affected, was never fully informed of the risks of taking sodium valproate during pregnancy. Last year, a charity survey found that almost one fifth of women who are taking the drug still do not know the risks that the medicine can pose during pregnancy. I welcome the Government’s efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of sodium valproate, but will the Secretary of State tell us whether the review will look at the guidelines for clinicians who prescribe it to women of childbearing age?”

Jon, who has worked closely with Emma since his election in 2011 on valproate, offered Labour’s support for the review but stressed that it falls short of the full public inquiry demanded by campaigners. Jon also highlighted the many unanswered questions that remain after the Ministerial Statement.


Jon continued: “We offer the review our support, but note that it falls short of the calls for a full public inquiry, which campaigners have been demanding. Will the Secretary of State give the House an absolute reassurance that the review will gain access to medicine regulation files held in the National Archives, access to any valuable evidence cited in unsuccessful legal actions and access to documents and information held by pharmaceutical companies and that all such material will be made public?”

“Does the Secretary of State agree that those affected must have trust and confidence in the review? Who will the noble baroness report to, and who will provide the secretariat to the review? I say this with no discourtesy to the Department or the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, but does he agree that the review must be independent to avoid any sense of conflict of interest that has hampered previous inquiries? I understand the steer that he has given to the noble baroness on setting the terms of reference, but I press him to ensure that victims agree with the terms of reference to maintain trust and confidence in the review.

“Is the Secretary of State now ruling out a full public inquiry, or is he saying to victims that they should wait for the review’s outcome? When can we expect it to report back to the House? More broadly, can he reassure us that the inquiry will have three separate strands that will look in depth at each issue to ensure that nothing gets watered down and lost?”

“On the treatment of the victims involved, the Secretary of State will know that many women have been denied access to legal aid to pursue compensation claims. Does he agree that women and children deserve full compensation and support? Is that not the Government’s responsibility? Will they establish a compensation fund, and what consideration has he given to compelling the pharmaceutical industry to support a compensation fund for those affected?”


Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box’
Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box
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“Finally, mesh, sodium valproate and Primodos have devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and children. Is it not time that they were given a full apology? Surely, that is the very least they deserve.”

Former Conservative health minister Baroness Cumberlege will lead an examination of the circumstances in all three cases and consider whether

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, challenges the government to allow a constituent to keep his motability car

February 15 2018

Yesterday Jon wrote to Motability and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask them to see sense and allow Mr Taylor to keep his Motability car.

Mr Alan Taylor has had a Motability Vehicle for two years which he uses to get out and about. Recently, Mr Taylor was transferred from Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the decision was taken not to award him the High Rate Mobility Component. This Component of the benefit would allow Mr Taylor to have a Motability car.

Jon said: “Even though I am told by the City Council’s Welfare Rights Service that Mr Taylor has a strong prospect of success with his appeal he will lose his Motability vehicle by 28th of this month”

“The car enables Mr Taylor to be independent and, importantly, allows him to attend his hospital appointments.”

Mr Taylor is being assisted by the City Council’s Welfare Rights Service with his appeal against the decision to refuse him the High Rate Mobility Component. Mr Taylor submitted his appeal in January and has been told by Motability that it requires a hearing date for the appeal before it can consider allowing Mr Taylor to retain the car pending the outcome of the Tribunal hearing.


Jon commented: “I know from the number of appeal cases that my office deals with that it can take a number of weeks, if not months, for an appeal to be lodged and listed with the Tribunals Service.”

“I have therefore written to Motability to request that Mr Taylor is allowed to keep his vehicle until his appeal is heard. Without the car that his wife drives Mr Taylor will suffer greatly and there is a risk that his health will also deteriorate.”

“I have also contacted the Minister about this matter and asked her to consider extending the discretion Motability has for agreements prior to 2013 to all agreements.”

“This car is Mr Taylor’s lifeline and for it to be taken away before his appeal is heard cannot make sense.”

Today, following the letter to Motability, Jon was contacted to be told that Mr Taylor’s case was reviewed and given his circumstances he will be able to keep his vehicle until a decision is reached by the Tribunal.

Jon speaking in parliament
Jon speaking in parliament
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Jon commented: “This is great news for Mr Taylor and I thank Motability for seeing sense. I look forward to the response from the Minister after asking her to extend the discretion Motability has for agreements prior to 2013 to agreements after that date.”

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, supports a finalist for the Mentor Of The Year Award

February 14 2018

This year, for the very first time, Good Morning Britain and The Prince's Trust holds the 'Mentor of the Year Awards'. This year they selected four finalists one of whom is the owner of a social enterprise in Jon’s Constituency of Leicester South

As well as being a mentor for Talent Match Leicestershire, a project that supports 18-24 year olds who have been unemployed for over a year, Yasin El Ashrafi is the owner and Managing Director for HQ Recording Studio which is based in the City Centre. Yasin founded the social enterprise so that he could work flexibly alongside providing care for his disabled son.

HQ Recording Studio offers free studio space for unemployed young people to explore their creative talents and receive one-to-one mentoring sessions. Yasin has mentored over 80 young people and has signed songs or projects with eight Talent Match young people.

Jon said: “I want to congratulate Yasin on being nominated for 'Mentor of the Year Award’. I visited HQ Recording Studio back in 2016 and I was very impressed with the services they offer to young people. It is a fantastic project and I know Yasin has worked very hard to mentor numerous young people.”



“Yasin is an inspiration for a lot of young people. I know that he has had to overcome his own personal challenges having suffered from a serious drug addiction for over ten years. His story and giving back to the community shows that even if you hit rock bottom there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”

Yasin El Ashrafi, the owner of HQ Recording Studio commented: “Being a mentor has been such a positive experience for me. When I see someone completely change their whole mind-set and way of life, it makes me feel like I've made a real difference. It is a reward worth much more than money."


Jon with Yasin in the recording booth October 2016
Jon with Yasin in the recording booth October 2016
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Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, calls on local NHS Trusts to sign the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter

February 5 2018

Jon has written to the Chief Executives of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust & Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust to ask them to sign the TUC ‘Dying to Work’ Charter to protect the rights of any employees who become terminally ill

The Charter, which is part of the TUC's 'Dying to Work' Campaign, was launched in April 2016 when Jon and Pauline Latham MP welcomed E.ON to Westminster to be the first company to sign up to the Charter.

Since its launch the ‘Dying to Work’ Charter protects over half a million employees with companies such as Legal and General, Santander, Co-Op, and Rolls Royce and the Royal Mail joining E.ON.

Jon said: “In December, as Shadow Secretary of State for Health, I launched a bid to get as many NHS hospitals to sign up to protect the rights of terminally ill workers. In the 70th year of the NHS I believe that NHS employers can provide a lead on the treatment of terminally ill workers.”

“The ‘Dying to Work’ Charter will ensure that all NHS staff can have dignity, not just in life, but also in work”



The Dying to Work campaign was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

The campaign, which is calling for a change in the law to prevent the same thing happening to other working people, has been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including The National Council for Palliative Care, Hospice UK, Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.

Jon commented: “I hope that the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust will sign up to the Charter and protect their employees who are terminally ill.”


Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box’
Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box
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