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Labour leader appoints new shadow health secretary in cabinet reshuffle

10 October 2016

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Jonathan Ashworth MP has been appointed the new shadow secretary of state for health, having previously been a shadow minister without a portfolio.

Ashworth was elected as an MP for Leicester South in 2011, having been an advisor to Gordon Brown and head of party relations to Ed Miliband.

After the announcement of his appointment, Ashworth tweeted: “The NHS was and still is Labour’s greatest achievement. On the brink of crisis under the Tories & going backwards. We’ll be campaigning hard.”

The Guardian claimed that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, promoted the MP but removed him from his position in the party’s National Executive Committee.

Reported to be one of the few moderates represented on the front bench, Ashworth responded strongly against the treatment of the NHS under the Conservative party in an article written for LabourList last week.

He said the Conservative Party’s response to the financial difficulties faced by the NHS is to “pick a fight with the vital junior doctors and nurses who deliver the care we all rely on.” 

Ashworth said: “The Tories should be ashamed of their record. They inherited a service with record investment under Labour – but the NHS has only gone backwards under the Tories.”

He takes over from Diane Abbott, who was promoted to shadow home secretary in the reshuffle.

Abbott was appointed to shadow secretary of state for health in June.