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Now i've lost confidence in my MP, who else can i trust?


With nowhere else to turn today, i found myself seeking the help of my local Member of Parliament, Jon Ashworth...it was a truly upsetting situation, left me helpless, in tears, and forced me to lose faith in a system of government i once had a lot of confidence in. This is a long post, but i really need your help so please give me 10 minutes of your time.

John Ashworth MP...inept
I am seeking your support as the court of public opinion. Read my situation. If you think i am justified in my upset, i ask that you help me publicise Jon Ashworth MP as a representative surrounded by a ring of steel, protecting him from all but the most politically heavy weight issues of his constituents. He is not worthy of the office he has been elected to, and cannot be relied on.

Here are a few choice phrases of Mr Ashworths "Constitution Director";
  • "You may have noticed that its a Tory government in power, what do you expect a Labour MP to do about it?" So the Labour party is even more worthless than i thought?
  • "You can email him, but i answer his emails" So your gonna bin all my emails?
  • "I can pass a message along, but he wont call you back" Looks like Mr Ashworth is as inept as his Constituency Director.
  • "If he gets 70,000 calls a day, you cant expect him to call back every one" - I dont think it is too much to ask to be able to speak to my Member of Parliament.

So...the story. Ringing the constituency office today I had the displeasure of speaking to Mr Ashworhs Constituency Director who concluded our unpleasant exchange by hanging up on me. He was rude, offensive, and clearly felt like my expectations were way above that which Mr Ashworth was willing to provide. I wanted to speak to, or meet with, my MP. I was told that i had no chance of that. I was very upset, that upset was born out of helplessness, not anger. I was told that he couldn't help me, which may be understandable to some extent...but as my last chance saloon i thought i would be able to speak to Mr Ashworth himself to see if he could at least try and support me in my campaign for a change in the rules. As it turns out, this Constituency Director answers the phones and the emails, and he clearly had no intention of letting Mr Ashworth know of my problem.

Sir Peter Solsby...now Mayor of Leicester.
A well deserved promotion
You may know that i have been unwell, and in the last 7 years have had just under 60 operations. I started my Law degree as a mature student in October 2009, at a university nearer my hospital, and with the support of lecturers and university staff who realised that my studies could be interupted. I just about managed to finish my first year, but had to abandon my second year in April 2011 so that i could undergo a series of 13 operations over a 5 week period. So i "interrupted" my year and hope to be well enough to return to university in October. Were i fit enough, i would be working over the summer. Unfortunatly i am not, and have been relying on overdraft and gifts to keep me afloat.

Calculations last week made me realise i needed more help finaicially, as i have found i must pay back one of my student loan payments as i interrupted the year...this adds up to some £1,500. I applied for Employment and Support Allowance, and have today been told that i am not elegible as am considered a "full time student". To be eligible for benefits i must show them evidence that i am NOT a student.

Social Mobility is always a big campaign point, and its something i generally support. Empowering people out of poverty etc etc. The system of benefits is inflexible. In an age of austerity, the rules might need tightening. What they do not do is empower people out of poverty. To be eligible for benefits i must be out of full time education. I must now quit university in order to survive. Hows that for empowering people out of poverty?

Liz Kendall...not even my MP but her staff
were willing to help as much as they could
His predecessor, the excellent Sir Peter Soulsby, and a neighbouring MP (Liz Kendall) have been a great help to me in the past. I must give a name check to one of Ms Kendall's staff, Justin, who took the time to advise me this afternoon, even though i was out of his constituency. I presumed to expect that level of service from Ashworth...he has no interest in such mediocrities.

I am left with a medical condition that, at the moment, means i cant work. I cannot get any more help from university, nor can i get help in the form of benefits. I cannot speak to my member of parliament about it as his ring of steel has no intention of passing messages on to him. I have only one choice...to survive i must quit university. Despite my grumblings, university was a big opportunity for me. I love studying law. I have met some great people through my course, and through this blog. Despite my efforts to return to work, the thousands of hours i give as a Special Constable when i am well, and a lot of hard work at university, i find myself with no support when i need it the most...and my next door neighbour has been on job seekers for 5 years and never leaves the flat. Fair?

I need your support, will you help?

This post is part of a series

  1. Now i've lost confidence in my MP, who else can i trust? (19th August 2011)
  2. MP's staff, constitutional status (19th August 2011)
  3. Progress made...convo with Jon Ashworth (21st August 2011)
  4. MP's Staff...part 2 (24th August 2011)
  5. Update on Stuff (8th September 2011)
  6. Letter of apology from Gavin George, Constituency Director for Jon Ashworth MP (20th September 2011)
  7. Phone call with Jon (21st September 2011)