Jonathan Ashworth 'sought refuge in vicarage' after being 'chased down street' in election campaign of 'bullying'

10 July 2024, 19:59 | Updated: 10 July 2024, 20:42

Supporter of the MP who unseated the former Labour MP is charged with terrorism offences

By Emma Soteriou

Jonathan Ashworth has revealed he was forced to seek refuge in a vicarage after being chased down the street during the General Election campaign.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Speaking in his first interview since losing his seat, Mr Ashworth told Andrew Marr he had “never known a campaign of such vitriol, such bullying, such intimidation".

He said during the General Election campaign he was "chased down the street" and "shouted at and screamed at for 40, 45 minutes".

Mr Ashworth added that he was forced to "seek refuge in a vicarage" at one point.

He said he "worried about [his] family and children" sharing that he was "campaigning with [his] 10-year-old because she wanted to help Daddy on Election Day and one of these loud mouths shouted at me that I was Genocide Jon, and everybody despised me".

Read more: Delay candidacy decision until after Nato, former House Speaker Pelosi tells Biden, as Starmer defends President

Read more: Keir Starmer arrives at NATO summit, as Tories demand to know when government will boost defence spending

Jonathan Ashworth
Jonathan Ashworth. Picture: Alamy

"I've been immensely proud to represent a diverse constituency in Leicester where I've been immensely proud for 13 years to have been able to walk into any mosque, any Hindu temple, any gurdwara, but I have never known a campaign of such vitriol, such bullying, such intimidation built on the foul and obnoxious lie that I was responsible for genocide," Mr Ashworth said.

"That I had the blood of Gazan children on my hands. This is the campaign that was run by a minority of bullies, and loud mouths.

"This is not representative of the many, many Muslim constituents I was proud to represent. This is not Muslim values.

"And look, a campaign was organised nationally by a national organisation called The Muslim Vote, whose campaign was clear on their website, punish MPs... It wasn't we want to effect change on a set of policy issues.

"Many of the policy issues I fought on whether that's calling for a ceasefire, calling for Palestinian statehood, calling for student finance arrangements for Muslim young people in my constituency.

"Punish MPs is what the national The Muslim Vote organisation talked about."

Jonathan Ashworth says he will 'stand up to bullies' after being targeted during General Election campaign

Mr Ashworth continued: "I was chased down the street, shouted at and screamed at for 40, 45 minutes, so I had to seek refuge literally in a vicarage.

"And they waited for me outside the vicarage. And even when I came out the vicarage, they were shouting at me with megaphones.

"There were leaflets going around, accusing me of being Genocide Jon, anonymous leaflets, all in the name of the successful candidate who won't be able to do anything, who will stand exposed and impotent, not able to affect change, accusing me of genocide and having blood on my hands.

"The vitriol is like something I have never seen, even though I've called for a ceasefire, even though I've called for Palestinian statehood.

"I even had a Palestinian heritage individual who grew up in a refugee camp in Lebanon come and campaign for me and they accused him of not actually being a real Palestinian."

Mr Ashworth, who was the Shadow Paymaster General, served as the Leicester South MP from 2011.

He lost his seat to Shockat Adam, an independent candidate who focused his campaigning on Gaza.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A crime scene has been set up in Shepherd's Bush, west London

Manhunt for suspect widens to London after human remains of two men found in suitcases in Bristol

More than 1,800 jobs and 272 stores are at risk as major retailer Carpetright is headed towards administration

Carpetright heads towards administration in move that would put all of its 272 stores and nearly 2,000 jobs at risk

Five men died on the OceanGate Titan vessel.

Plaque to be laid next to Titanic in honour of Titan submersible victim

The incident at Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol yesterday

Human remains found in suitcases dumped near Bristol bridge 'belong to two men'

Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood, with Governor Sarah Bott, during a visit to HMP Bedford in Harpur, Bedfordshire

Thousands of prisoners are to be released after serving just 40 per cent of sentences as jails face 'collapse'

Supermarkets have altered their opening hours for the Euro 2024 final

Get the supplies in: Every supermarket closing early this Sunday as England take on Spain in Euro 2024 final

The Princess Royal has returned to public duties for the first time since her head injury

Princess Anne returns to public duties for first time since horse-related accident

Michael White has been removed from the World Snooker Tour

Professional snooker player jailed for assaulting girlfriend and removed from world tour

England's bus parade would travel to Buckingham Palace to be honoured by King Charles and the Prince of Wales

England to have open-top bus parade through London if Southgate's side beat Spain in Euro 2024 final

Police have launched an investigation after the death of a baby at an address in Taviton street, Camden

Body of newborn baby found in bin as murder investigation launched

It is unknown how the whales became stranded.

Pod of 77 whales dies after becoming stranded on Scottish beach

Gavin Plumb was given three life sentences for plotting to abduct and murder Holly Willoughby

'Depraved loner' Gavin Plumb given three life sentences for plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby

Forensics investigators at the scene in Bushey

Man, 26, arrested on suspicion of triple crossbow murder after three women found dead at Hertfordshire home

Brits face a weekend washout as thunderstorms hit the southwest.

Brits face horror start to weekend as Met Office issues eight-hour thunderstorm warning

Security guard Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder television presenter Holly Willoughby.

'Depraved and vile' plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby has had 'life-changing' impact on star

The former president has expressed his concern over Biden's ability to beat Donald Trump.

Obama 'concerned' as pressure mounts on Joe Biden to pull out of presidential race in wake of Putin gaffe