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.
Jon Ashworth MP wraps presents as part of Toys on the Table Day
Friday November 30 2012
Jon Ashworth MP helped wrap and sort presents at Matrix House on Friday.
The Toys on the Table charity campaign works in the Leicester and Leicestershire area to provide new toys for children of all faiths who might not otherwise receive anything during the holiday season. The charity receives only new gifts from donors, or funds which can be used to purchase new gifts. Last year the campaign helped nearly 4,000 children.
Jon, who this year donated a Poppy's Pony Adventure toy for 18 months to 5 year olds, said: “This is the second year running that I have been involved with the Toys on the Table charity campaign. As a father myself, I know how important it is to parents to give their children presents and gifts during the holiday season. Toys on the Table enables parents to provide those gifts at no cost, something which is particularly important for hard-up families in such tough economic times.”
“I wholeheartedly commend the campaign and encourage everybody in Leicester to get to their nearest drop-off point, donate a new gift, and make the holiday season that bit more special for families suffering from financial hardship.”
Jon sorting the cuddly toys, above right, Jon wraps his gift with Terry Watts from Toys on The Table, below right,Jon with his wrapped gift,
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Jon Ashworth MP opens the Leicester Mental Health Pre-Summit Event
Friday November 30 2012
This event was supported and organised by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, Leicester City LINk and the Voluntary Sector Mental Health Partnership Forum on behalf of Jon Ashworth.
Jon said: “The significance of good mental health in today's society is well documented, and so it is important to raise the profile of mental health services in Leicester. I will be hosting a Mental Health Summit next year with the aim of bringing about effective commissioning of services between Health and Social Care, especially given the changes to be brought about to the NHS following the passage of The Health & Social Care Act.”
“But it is important that the services jointly commissioned are what are needed and wanted by people with mental health problems and their carers. This Pre-Summit is about listening to service users and carers and taking on board their views on, experiences of, and ideas for, mental health services in the City.”
As well as giving a voice to service users and carers, this event gave the various mental health charities and organisation operating in Leicester the opportunity to have a real say.
David Barsby, from Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, stated: “A Mental Health Summit is very timely as from next year GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups will be taking on the responsibility of commissioning health care provision.”
Gabby Briner, from Network for Change, commented: “By holding this Pre-Summit we hope to ensure that the views of local service uses and carers are taken on board and to demonstrate the benefits of working in partnership with the Voluntary and Community Sector to deliver more cost effective mental health services through future joint commissioning.”
Jon addressing the Pre-Summit Event, photo below right, Jon with (left to right) Jim Dooher (De Montfort University), Barbara Czyznikowska (Leicester City LINk), Gabby Briner (Network for Change), David Barsby (Voluntary Action LeicesterShire) and David Keysell (Foundation Housing Association)
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Jon Ashworth MP challenges David Cameron at PMQs on youth unemployment in Leicester and receives an answer on Birmingham!
Wednesday November 28 2012
Today Jon Ashworth MP directly challenged Prime Minister David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions over levels of youth unemployment in Leicester.
In response the Prime Minister surprised all present by answering about the situation in Birmingham.
Mr Ashworth said: “Today I challenged the Prime Minister on the unacceptable levels of youth unemployment in Leicester and across the country and asked about the Future Jobs Fund scheme that has been found to be a success even though this government abolished it.”
“Today there are 3,636 young people unemployed across Leicester, 1,315 in my Leicester South constituency – a figure that is higher than at the general election.”
“But rather than answer on the situation in Leicester, Mr Cameron instead focused on Birmingham.”
“The Prime Minister would have known I was asking him a question and I'm disappointed he didn't seem up to speed and apparently confused Leicester and Birmingham.
“Given that Birmingham is 43 miles away from Leicester and in the West Midlands I have this afternoon delivered a map to 10 Downing Street where I have circled Birmingham and Leicester for Mr Cameron's benefit. In the future I hope he is able to use the knowledge he garners from this map to provide useful statistics relating to the UK towns, cities and constituencies actually referred to during questioning, rather than those nearly 50 miles away.”
“There are 3,635 young people unemployed across Leicester and 438,490 across the country, the government need to do much more and now urgently put in place a proper scheme to help our young people find sustainable employment.”
Jon at Downing Street
with a map
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The House of Commons was full on November 28 when Jon asked the Prime Minister about unemployment in Leicester.
Jon, challenging the Prime Minister on the unacceptable levels of youth unemployment in Leicester.
Jon Ashworth MP speaking in the House of Commons, tackling the Prime Minister about unemployment in Leicester. You can view the full parliamentary proceedings for the day by clicking on the Play button, and then skip to 12:12:10 for the start of Jon's contribution.
Jon Ashworth MP visited the Leicester Council Of Faith's Exhibition as part of National Inter Faith Week
Saturday November 24 2012
Jon Ashworth MP visited the Inter Faith Exhibition at Leicester's Highcross Shopping Centre on Saturday 24 November, which celebrates the diversity of the City's faith communities.
The Inter Faith Week Exhibition will showcase eight member communities of the Leicester Council of Faiths, and representatives from each of the major religions will have their own banners and promotional literature to distribute to the general public. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and Baha'is will all be represented at the Exhibition. Information is also available on Leicester Secular Society and on how to report hate crimes.
This year's Exhibition is the fourth running to be held in Leicester's Highcross Shopping Centre and is part of the national Inter Faith Week being celebrated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aim of the Exhibition is to promote accurate knowledge about the various religions practised in the country today, and the Leicester event in particular hopes to bring people together and celebrate the unique diversity of the city.
Jon said: “The Leicester Council of Faith's Inter-Faith Exhibition is an excellent way to promote information about the different religions practiced in Leicester. My constituency in particular is uniquely diverse, with people from many different religions who live and worship here. Leicester South has a beautiful Cathedral, many different churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and synagogues.”
Throughout the week, it is expected that there will be a footfall of approximately 350,000 past the Inter Faith display.
George Ballentyne, Equality and Diversity Officer at Leicester Council of Faiths, commented: “We're delighted to be back here in such a public spot, for the fourth year running, presenting our message of trust, understanding and cooperation among Leicester's diverse communities.
We're grateful to Highcross for continuing to give us this opportunity and to Jon Ashworth MP for his ongoing visible support.”
Photo above: Jon with Councillor Sood, Chair of the Leicester Council of Faiths
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Jon Ashworth MP visited the Eyres Monsell Community Association Christmas Fayre
Saturday November 24 2012
The Christmas Fayre, which was organised by the Community Association's Events Committee, was on Saturday November 24.
Jon said:“It was great meeting local residents at the Fayre and taking part in some of the many activities that were going on. I'm often in Eyres Monsell and I was delighted to be asked to attend the Christmas Fayre.”
As well as various stalls and events in the main hall of the Eyres Monsell Community Centre, there were other activities taking place in the Magpie Youth Centre next door. This is where Santa was in his Grotto.
Jon commented:“It is good to see the community coming together for Christmas and I am pleased that the Community Association receives on-going support from the local Councillors.”
The Christmas Fayre ran from midday until 4.30pm. There was a children's entertainer, face painting, a raffle, tombola, various stalls and hot food throughout the afternoon.
Sue Green, Vice Chair of Eyres Monsell Community Association, said:“The Events Committee were delighted that Jon Ashworth joined us at our Christmas Fayre. Our group has very hard working volunteers, so it is great to have the support of our local MP and Councillors.”
“The Events Committee works tirelessly all year to put together a varied number of community events for the residents of Eyres Monsell, their families and friends. We were pleased Jon enjoyed his visit.”
Photos show, top right; local Councillor Rory Palmer, Jon Ashworth, and Sue Green Vice Chair of Eyres Monsell Community Association.
Middle; Jon, Jean Hall a member of the Events Committee and local Councillor Virginia Cleaver.
Bottom; Alan Potter from the Events Committee, Jon and Amanda Crowden from Support Our Soldiers.
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Jon Ashworth MP visits Crown Hills Community College
Friday November 23 2012
Jon Ashworth MP visited Crown Hills Community College on Friday 23 November 2012 as part of the ‘Parliament Week' initiative designed to encourage political participation amongst younger people.
‘Parliament Week' is a national initiative jointly co-ordinated and launched by the House of Commons and House of Lords, aiming to raise awareness of democracy and democratic institutions in the UK. The initiative had its first ever launch last year, with thousands of people participating in events around the country.
As part of this year's national ‘Parliament Week', Jon Ashworth chaired a debate at Crown Hills Community College amongst Year 11 students aged 15 to 16. The debate was on funding cuts to Further and Higher education, and students discussed how cuts to financial support, such as the abolition of Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), affect College and University educational progress.
Jon said: “It was very interesting hearing the students' views on the cuts being made to Further and Higher Education. This is an important issue because these students will be directly affected by these policies. It'll also be good to chair a debate, instead of being the one always asking the questions!”
“It was good to see the young people engaging with such issues, and I was pleased to see that they're getting involved in political discussions of this sort.
It's so important that young people of today participate in debates and form views about pressing topical issues. ‘Parliament Week' allows them to do just that, and encourages them to use their voice and engage with our Parliamentary democratic system.”
Photo above top, Jon with Principal Bernadette Green (centre left) and English Teacher Salma Owen (centre right) with students: Mubin Asfak, Mustak Ali, Saarah Ibrahim, Maria Bouazzouz, Hafsah Hafeji, Aisha Kara, Beenita Shah, Nizam Lalan, Priyen Solanki, and Zain Ali. Above bottom, Jon listening to the proposition. From left to right: students Priyen Solanki, Zain Ali and Nizam Lalalan, with Principal Bernadette Green and Jon Ashworth.
Bernadette Green, Principal of the school, commented: “This was a great opportunity for students to meet their local MP and to learn more about the democratic process through participating in a debate during Parliament Week. I hope it will encourage them to take an interest in politics and become active voters when they are old enough.”
Photo above top, Jon chairing the debate.
Above bottom, Jon pronouncing the decision after students voted with their feet.
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Jon Ashworth MP has won Total Politics Magazine MP of the Month
Wednesday November 21 2012
Jon Ashworth MP has been awarded Total Politics Magazine's MP of the Month award for December 2012.
The magazine credited Mr Ashworth for the determination and resilience with which he conducted his campaign to reinter the suspected bones of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral.
The award comes just as Government Minister Helen Grant confirmed in answer to a written question by Mr Ashworth that the current plan is to reinter the remains in Leicester Cathedral, should they be found to be those of Richard III.
Mr Ashworth said: “I'm delighted to have won Total Politics magazine's ‘MP of the Month Award'. For the bones of Richard III to be interred in Leicester would be great for our City and a nod of recognition to the hard work of the archaeological team at the University of Leicester, who carried out such excellent research ahead of the discovery.”
“We are still awaiting the results from the DNA tests; fingers crossed the bones actually turn out to be his!”
Jon Ashworth MP presents petition opposing the closure of Nipper's Nursery to House of Commons
Tuesday November 20 2012
Jon Ashworth MP presented the Speaker of the House of Commons with a petition opposing the closure of Nipper's Nursery, Saxon House, Leicester.
The nursery, which is an in-house HMRC facility, provided by Bright Horizons, is due to be closed on 30 November 2012, following an alleged decline in numbers of children using the facility. HMRC made the decision to close eight of its in-house nurseries back in August 2012.
Mr Ashworth presented the petition after a similar petition with 272 names and signatures was posted to his office. The petition denies the assertion that the nursery has declining numbers and states that its users believe it to be a valuable, viable, and well-loved nursery used by the staff of HMRC and local parents alike.
The nursery currently has roughly 50 children on its books. Mr Ashworth has previously spoken in the Commons about the closure of the nursery, reminding the House that the nursery is currently oversubscribed with 15 staff on maternity leave who will undoubtedly soon require the facility. Mr Ashworth asked for a moratorium on the closures of HMRC nurseries.
Mr Ashworth said: “I am delighted to have been able to present a petition in opposition of the closure of Nipper's Nursery. The nursery is an important facility which provides cost-effective support to staff and local young families. Nipper's is a popular, purpose built nursery space which does not seem to be suffering the declining numbers reported by HMRC. Until HMRC can come up with those figures, we should have a moratorium on the closure of these nurseries.”
Jon Ashworth MP presented the Speaker of the House of Commons with a petition opposing the closure of Nipper's Nursery, Saxon House, Leicester. You can view the full parliamentary proceedings for the day by clicking on the Play button, and then skip to 19.00.48 for the start of Jon's contribution.
Jon Ashworth MP speaks at the launch of the Highfields Area Plan
Friday November 16 2012
The Highfields Area Plan was formally launched on Friday 16 November at the Highfields Centre.
Jon said: “The Highfields Area Plan is an important framework for the delivery of services and activities in the Highfields area, but what is significant about the Plan is that it was put together following consultation with local people and agencies.”
The Area Plan is intended to help the City Council and its partners plan services based on local priorities.
Jon commented: “So many times local plans are put together, or services planned, without listening to the local community. By listening to local people and agencies the Highfields Area Forum is seeking to make services more responsive and relevant to the area and at the same time ensuring that limited resources are used effectively.”
“I'm pleased that the importance of local involvement was recognised by the Spinney Hills, Castle and Stoneygate Councillors who helped to fund the plan through their Ward Community Meetings.”
The Plan will not only give the Highfields Area Forum a strategic focus for its continuing work, but it will give local people and statutory agencies a framework for measuring the success and progress of activities in the area.
Priya Thamotheram, Head of the Highfields Centre and Vice Chair of the Highfields Area Forum, commented: “The Forum's main role will be to act as a coordinating body and catalyst for action, with it taking an investigative, supportive, developmental, championing and monitoring role. The Area Plan should be regarded as an initial set of commitments, which can be added to in light of emerging opportunities, rather than a fixed agenda that must be adhered to rigidly over the next three years.”
Photo: Jon and Priya Thamotheram, Head of the Highfields Centre and Vice Chair of the Highfields Area Forum, talking with some members of the local community.
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Jon Ashworth MP attended the Service of Remembrance and parade at
Victoria Park this Sunday, 11 November
Sunday November 11 2011
Jon Ashworth joined hundreds of local people, veterans, and civic dignitaries at the War Memorial for the City's annual Remembrance Day service and parade.
This year's parade fell on Armistice Day itself, 11 November.
Jon commented: “It is only right that we put aside a day to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we all enjoy today. We should all pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by our Service men and women during the two World Wars and during more recent conflicts.”
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Abdul Osman led the procession from De Montfort Hall to the War memorial, before the Bishop of Leicester, The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, began the Service of Remembrance.
Jon Ashworth MP visits Leicester High School for Girls after the return of students stranded In New York
Friday November 9 2012
Jon Ashworth MP visited Leicester High School earlier today to meet with students who were stuck in New York after Superstorm Sandy prolonged their half-term trip.
A group of 38 students from the school visited New York as part of an American cultural trip. This visit was only meant to last for seven days, but due to the effects of the storm the students, along with four members of staff, were stranded in the City for longer than expected.
The students have been offered alternative flights home, with three of the girls returning on Tuesday morning and the remaining 35 girls returning on Wednesday morning. However, six of the stranded students were due to have their GCSE English re-sit exams on Wednesday, and one of the students had an exam to sit on the same day for the BMAT medical school examination. To account for the disruption caused by the storm, the school had arranged for the examinations to be rescheduled, giving the girls some time to recover from their ordeal.
Speaking before the visit, Jon said: “I have been in contact with the airlines numerous times to try to facilitate a speedy return for the students, stressing that some of them need to return for their exams.”
“I am pleased to now be able to meet with the students, and would like to hear about how the storm affected their trip and how they feel to be back in Leicester.”
Julia Burns, Headmistress of Leicester High School, commented: “As soon as Jon heard about the plight of the girls he contacted the school and made every conceivable effort to help. His support and the knowledge that he was doing everything in his power to help the girls was a great comfort to us.”
Photos show, top right; Jon addressing students at Leicester High School with Headteacher Julia Burns and Head Girl Aruna Ubhi, middle; Jon talking to some of the students at the school, bottom; Jon with some of the students who were stranded in New York
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Jon Ashworth MP took part in the Diwali lights switch-on ceremony in Leicester
Sunday November 4 2012
On Sunday 4 November 2012 Jon was at the Belgrave Road ceremony along with Keith Vaz MP and Liz Kendal MP, which saw the switching-on of Diwali lights all the way down the iconic Golden Mile.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and commemorates the victory of good over evil.
The Diwali lights in Leicester are switched on every year a few weeks before the day of the festival itself, and last year the ceremony was attended by over 35,000 people. Diwali celebrations in Leicester are reported to be the biggest such celebrations in the world outside India, with tens of thousands of people regularly participating in the celebrations.
Speaking before the ceremony, Jon commented: “The Diwali lights switch-on ceremony should be a very exciting event! I attended the event last year and thousands of people had gathered to watch the lights being turned on all the way down the Golden Mile. The atmosphere was fantastic, and I'm sure it'll be the same again this year.
I'm very pleased to be able to participate in the ceremony again this year, and I'd like to thank the organisers for arranging this event, which is enjoyed by so many people here in Leicester.
In advance of the day itself, I'd also like to wish everyone a very happy Diwali.”
Watch Jon speaking at the switching-on of the Diwali lights. Video courtesy of Pukaar News.
Jon Ashworth MP visits the University of Leicester to meet with students
Friday November 2 2012
Jon Ashworth MP visited the University of Leicester to give students an opportunity to meet their local MP and talk to him about issues that matter to them.
The visit, organised by both the University of Leicester Students' Union and Leicester Labour Students Society, provided students of the university a unique opportunity to talk to Jon direct about the issues they feel are important to them.
Jon met with James Farndon, Campaigns and Involvement Officer at the Students' Union, and Sean-Kelly Walsh, President of Leicester Labour Students Society, as well as meeting many other students who were on campus.
Speaking before the event, Jon said: “It is important to remember that Leicester is a university city, and students make up a significant portion of our local population. With the University of Leicester being in my constituency, I am keen to hear the views of students and want to know which local and national issues are most important to them.”
In 2010 the government proposed to increase university tuition fees, and this year's intake is the first group of students to be affected by the new fees system. Facing fees of up to £9,000, students starting university courses in 2012 are paying almost treble the amount their predecessors paid.
Jon commented: “This government's outrageous increase in tuition fees is a major concern for students and their families, and it's already deterred many young people from applying to university. Coupled with government cuts that have been made to academic research councils, I want to hear how these changes have affected those who have still decided to attend university.”
Photo left, Jon addressing a small group of students, photo above, Jon with students from the university