Aylestone | Castle | City Centre | Clarendon Park | Crown Hills | De Montfort University | Evington Road | Eyres Monsell | Wycliffe | Gilmorton | Highfields
Knighton | Knighton Fields | Leicester University | Leicester Royal Infirmary | Saffron | Spinney Hills | St. Andrews | St. Matthews | St. Peters | Stoneygate
 
 
 
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.
You can also visit archive news items shown in the menus below.
 
     
 
Archive Television Broadcasts
 

FEBRUARY 2014

Jon Ashworth MP criticises in Parliament the closure of Santander branches
in Leicester

Thursday February 27 2014

Jon Ashworth MP criticised the closure of a Santander branch in his Constituency whilst raising the issue in Parliament.

Santander recently decided to close 11 outlets in the city and county, and one of those outlets falls in a deprived area of his Constituency.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Jon said: “Santander has announced that it will close 11 agency branches throughout Leicestershire and Leicester, including the branch at Highfields in my Constituency, which is a densely populated area of some deprivation. Many of our constituents are getting fed up with how the banks operate.”


 

In a matter of days, over 600 people signed a petition to oppose the Santander Highfields branch closure.

Responding to Jon’s comments, the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, said he would refer the matter to the Treasury.

Jon commented further: “This issue has been brought to me by my constituents, and the strength of feeling makes it only right that I raise it in Parliament as well as with Santander.”


 
jon

Jon Ashworth MP collected a petition opposing the closure of Santander
on Melbourne Road

Friday February 14 2014
Jon Ashworth MP, and local Councillors, met with some of the protesters outside the Santander which is ran from the St Peter’s Post Office.

Jon stated: “I will be taking this petition top the management of Santander. In a matter of days, over 600 people have signed the petition which shows the strength of feeling locally. I hope Santander will listen to local people and reconsider its decision.”


 


 
The petition was organised by Hussain Osman.

Mr Osman stated: “The Santander branch is so popular that people regularly queue on to the street. A lot of the elderly customers will be unable to get to the nearest branch on Evington Road.”

 

 

 
Jon next to Mr Osman
Photo shows Jon next to Mr Osman
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP announced the result of his Tesco Survey
and met local school children

Friday February 14 2014
In December 2013 Jon Ashworth promised to contact every household in the area to seek their views on the proposed Tesco development in Clarendon Park.
Approximately 6,000 households received a letter with a survey on the reverse.

Today, Jon announced the results of his survey at the former Barclays Bank site.

Jon said: “I promised to listen to local residents and I have. I contacted every household within a one kilometre radius of the proposed store and now the results are in.”

As of yesterday, 13 February, 689 surveys had been returned (11.5% return rate). Of the 689 returned surveys the outcome was:
  • No = 609 (88.4%)
• Yes = 72 (10.4%)
• Don’t Know = 8 (1.2%)

Clearly this is a high degree of opposition to the proposed store, but there was also a sizeable minority in favour of the proposal.

After making public the survey responses, Jon visited Avenue Road Primary School where he met with pupils who have completed a project on the proposed development. The children, who have been learning to write persuasively, have been investigating the proposals to open a Tesco in the area.


 
Jon with Councillor Kitterick and campaigners outside the building proposed for the store

Jon stated: “It was great meeting the children and listening to their arguments for and against the Tesco development. I will ensure that their letters are considered during the planning process.”

Mrs Kandola, Headteacher at Avenue Primary, commented: “The Year 5 children are very excited by the whole project and have thoroughly enjoyed their learning, especially linked into a real, local issue. The children and members of staff were delighted to welcome Jon Ashworth to our school to enable the children to present their work.”

 

Photo above, Jon with Councillor Kitterick and campaigners outside the building proposed for the store, photo top right, Jon with Class Teacher Clare Botting and Councillor Kitterick, bottom right, children answering a question from Jon
 
Jon with Class Teacher Clare Botting and Councillor Kitterick
Children answering a question from Jon
Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP officially opens the Support Centre at Open Hands

Friday February 7 2014

On Friday 7 February Jon Ashworth opened the Support Centre that is located on the corner of Upper Tichbourne Street and Highfield Street.

The Centre, which has received funding form CRASH and Awards for All, will enable Open Hands to increase the services it offers to the local community.

Jon said: “I am a great admirer of the work undertaken by Open Hands and regularly support the organisation. This new Support Centre is a fantastic addition to the facilities available and I hope that it will help to make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

The Support Centre is already used by the Citizen Advice Bureau, Jakin and for craft sessions and Cap budgeting courses.

 
Sue Smout, the Senior Manager at Opens Hands, commented: “The Support Centre will enable the Trust to offer further support, advice and skills courses as well as giving an opportunity for other organisations to provide essential services to the local community.”

“We are really thankful to both CRASH and Awards for All for their funding and support to enable us to develop this new addition to our Compassion Centre. We were pleased that Jon could officially opening the Support Centre.”

 

 

Photo top right, Jon speaking before opening the Support Centre, photo bottom right, Jon prepares to cut the ribbon and officially open the Support Centre with Sue Smout, Senior Manager at Open Hands
Click any photo for enlargement
 
Jon speaking before opening the Support Centre
JJon prepares to cut the ribbon and officially open the Support Centre with Sue Smout, Senior Manager at Open Hands

Jon Ashworth MP visited Montrose Primary School

Friday February 7 2014

Jon Ashworth was talking to children in class F2 as part of their ‘People Who Help Us’ Project.

Speaking before the event Jon said: “I’m looking forward to speaking with the young children about what an MP does. Sometimes the toughest questions I get are from children. Hopefully it will be a fun and interesting session for everyone.”

A policeman, fireman, and even a pizza delivery man have visited Montrose as part of ‘People Who Help Us’.

Jon was joined at Montrose Primary by Councillor Adam Clarke, who is a local Councillor for the area.

Councillor Clarke stated: “I’m really pleased that our MP came to Aylestone to meet children at Montrose School with me. You never know, Jon’s visit might inspire the career of a future hardworking Member of Parliament.”

After speaking with the children about the role of an MP Jon had a tour of the school with the Head Teacher, Mr Owens, and Chair of Governors, Mrs Squance.

 
Jon with (left to right) Councillor Clarke, Mrs Squance (Chair of Governors) and Mr Owens the Head Teacher

Mr Owens commented: “It was good meeting Jon and finding out a little about the busy life of an MP. I’m sure the children tested him with some tricky questions!”

 

Photo above, Jon with (left to right) Councillor Clarke, Mrs Squance (Chair of Governors) and Mr Owens the Head Teacher photo top right, Jon explaining where he works to the children, bottom right, Jon and Mrs Kelly talking about Guy Fawkes
Click any photo for enlargement
 
Jon explaining where he works to the children
Jon and Mrs Kelly talking about Guy Fawkes
 

Jon Ashworth MP speaks out against education funding cuts affecting nearly 10,000 students in East Midlands

Wednesday February 5 2014

The Government has announced that from September 2014, funding for 18 year olds in full-time education will be cut by 17.5%. These cuts will affect up to 10,000 students in the East Midlands and see a regional loss of £7,229,073 in funding, making the East Midlands the worst hit region in the country after London. Jon Ashworth has spoken out to raise the concerns of students and colleges alike.

Jon Ashworth said: “I’ve met with representatives from colleges in my Constituency, and it’s clear that there’s concern about the Government’s decision. Colleges are forced to suddenly find additional money to support these students.”

According to EMFEC, a further education charity, there are approximately 61,000 16 – 18 year olds in full-time further education in the East Midlands. Out of this figure, it is known that 9,556 will be affected by the cuts. The Association of Colleges has published a report examining how the East Midlands will be the region worst affected by these cuts after London.

The Department for Education also published an impact assessment report on these cuts. The Government’s own findings demonstrate that the decision will have a disproportionate impact on young people from disadvantaged and Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

 

 
Jon being filmed during his interview with John Hess
However, there are concerns that the Government’s report underestimates the true impact of these cuts. According to the Department for Education, only 5,000 students will be affected in the East Midlands. Data from 22 East Midlands further education colleges, however, demonstrates that 9,556 students will in fact be affected – nearly double what the Department for Education had estimated.  

Jon commented further: “These figures are shocking. Nearly 10,000 students affected in one region is a huge amount, and nobody knows where the colleges are expected to find the £7 million they’re losing. What’s also worrying is that the Government’s own impact assessment underestimated the effect of the cuts by half. If the Government had made the effort to consult with colleges, things might be different.”


 
Jon being interviewed by John Hess from the BBC outside the Houses of Parliament
Photo above left, Jon being filmed during his interview with John Hess, photo above, Jon being interviewed by John Hess from the BBC outside the Houses of Parliament
Click any photo for enlargement
 
“I’ve raised this matter with the Secretary of State for Education and hope to get a response.”

Verity Hancock, Principal of Leicester College, stated: “These are young people who risk ending up as NEETs if they don’t receive fully funded education in colleges. They may find their choice of courses severely curtailed if these cuts go ahead.”

Jon Ashworth MP fights heart disease by Ramping up the Red in pop-up
Parliament shop

Tuesday February 4 2014

Leicester South Labour MP, Jon Ashworth, supported the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on 4 February when the BHF revealed their first ever pop-up shop in the Palace of Westminster.

Jon met shop staff and volunteers to hear how BHF shops raise vital funds for life-saving research. During the visit, Jon added his voice to the call for people to Ramp up the Red this February.

On the 7 February, the BHF are urging the public to Ramp up the Red by wearing something red, hosting a red-themed party, or baking some red-coloured treats.

Jon said: “I am delighted to help raise awareness of heart disease by taking part in Ramp up the Red. I hope the public join me on the 7th February and help to beat a devastating disease which can affect anyone, from babies to grandparents.

“By popping up in Parliament, the BHF has reminded us of the vital role their shops play in raising funds for life-saving research.”

 

 

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, responsible for almost 74,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 200 people each day. There are currently 2.3 million people in the UK living with coronary heart disease. 

Mike Taylor, Retail Director at the BHF, said:

“We wanted to show MPs just how important our shops are – without our shop staff, including 23,000 volunteers across the UK, we simply couldn’t continue our life-saving work.

“It is fantastic to see Jon Ashworth showing his support and ramping up the red. All the money raised on 7 February will help us truly fight for every heartbeat.”

 

For more information about Ramp up the Red or to donate please visit  bhf.org.uk/red

 
Jon at the first ever pop-up shop in the Palace of Westminster
Photo above, Jon at the first ever pop-up shop in the Palace of Westminster.
Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP says questions still need to be answered on British involvement
in Golden Temple attack

Tuesday February 4 2014

Today in the House of Commons the Foreign Secretary delivered a statement on the British Government’s involvement in the storming of the Golden Temple in 1984. The statement comes following the publication of the Cabinet Secretary’s inquiry report into this matter.

Immediately before the Foreign Secretary’s statement was delivered, Jon met with a representative of the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance in the House of Commons.

Jon has said that questions still need to be answered, and has written to his constituents and community groups in Leicester. The text of the letter is below:

-----------------------------------------------------------

Dear Friend,

Re: Golden Temple Raid 1984, Operation Blue Star and the British Government’s Involvement

Today the Foreign Secretary made a statement in the House of Commons about the British Government’s involvement in Operation Blue Star. This follows the publication of the Cabinet Secretary’s report on the inquiry he led on this matter.

I welcome the light that this report sheds on the allegations of British involvement in the storming of the Golden Temple. We now know that the British Government did give military advice to the Indian Government.

However, there are still serious questions that need to be asked.

For instance, the Cabinet Secretary recommended the public release of numerous Government documents on this matter. One of these documents is the letter from Indira Gandhi to Margaret Thatcher, explaining the Indian Prime Minister’s reasoning for Operation Blue Star. However, it is unclear why the Government has chosen to publish that letter, but not the letter from Margaret Thatcher to Indira Gandhi.

 
The Government has so far refused the Labour Party’s request that all relevant documents relating to the incident that can be published are made public. The Cabinet Secretary’s report cites that officials were interviewed over the course of the investigation, but there has been no publication of a list of those officials, and neither have those testimonies been made public.

Additionally, it is disappointing that there was more than a three week delay in the Cabinet Secretary publishing the terms of reference of his inquiry. It is also unclear whether the terms of the inquiry changed over its course, and this is something the Government needs to clarify.

The Cabinet Secretary’s report specifies an investigation time frame of December 1983 to June 1984. However, this time frame was not made public prior to the report’s publication. Many representatives from the Sikh community have expressed regret that the investigation only covered the first part of 1984. Given the legacy of the events in the weeks and months after Operation Blue Star, I believe it is only right that the Cabinet Secretary makes clear whether a full enquiry is needed to cover a longer period.

On the actual findings themselves, the Cabinet Secretary’s report states that the British advice was that “this type of operation should only be put into effect as a last resort when all other courses of negotiation had failed.” However, the Foreign Secretary has not set out what type of operation this quote was referring to, and the Sikh community deserves further information on this.

The report also touches on allegations that the provision of military advice was linked to the potential sale of Westland helicopters. The report states that no evidence was found to substantiate this, but unfortunately none of the documents that have been recommended for publication relate to this issue.

 
Jon Ashworth in the House of Commons with Mr Kartar Singh of the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance

For the sake of transparency, and in order to provide much-needed answers, the Foreign Secretary should commit to publishing correspondence pertaining to this matter, as this is a very serious and worrying allegation.

I understand that the pain and suffering caused by the events of 1984 still resonates with the Sikh community today. The legacy of these events and the confirmation of British military advice in the lead up to Operation Blue Star places a duty on the Government to provide full answers to the questions asked by the Labour Party and the Sikh community.

I hope that the Foreign Secretary and Cabinet Secretary will provide us with these answers.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan

-----------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 
Home About me News Parliament Advice Sessions Contact me
 

Visit Jon Ashworth's website regularly and keep up-to-date with what's important for Leicester South, with information, news and comment.