Leicester South: your guide to the 2024 general election

Everything you need to know ahead of polling day on Thursday, 4 July.

Graphic with 'Leicester East: Voting Guide' overlay on a map and election iconography
Polls open on Thursday, 4 July. Graphic: Surasti Puri / Great Central Gazette

Leicester South has changed control several times since it was created in 1974. The current Labour and Co-operative MP — Jonathan Ashworth — was first elected in a 2011 by-election, prompted by the resignation of Sir Peter Soulsby, who stood down from parliament to contest the mayoral election. It is the safest Labour seat in Leicester, with a 22,675 majority.

The constituency has some of the most affluent areas of the city within its borders, like Stoneygate and Knighton. But in contrast, it also includes estates like Saffron and Eyres Monsell which have high levels of deprivation. The city centre, also within the constituency, is dealing with the refurbishment of Leicester Market, the train station, and the loss of high street shops, like Gallowtree Gate's Marks & Spencer. Students studying at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University largely live in Leicester South.

Many Leicester South candidates live nearby or in Leicestershire, except the Conservative's Gerri Hickton, who lives in Derbyshire. Hickton was a councillor for Erewash Borough Council for eight years until the 2023 local elections, when she lost her seat to Labour.

Most of the candidates are campaigning around the big issues facing the area: the survival of the high street, higher education, the Israel-Gaza conflict, the NHS, and the environment. There are nine candidates, including from the Conservative Party, the Greens, the Liberal Democrats, Reform UK, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and the Communist Party. Two independent candidates are also vying for the seat.

What happened in the 2019 general election?

The Labour and Co-operative Party retained the seat after going up against the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party and the Green Party. Ashworth's majority was reduced by 3.35 per cent to 22,675, down from 26,261 in 2017. In 2019, the Conservatives' Natalie Neale came second. Turnout was 64.6 per cent.

Boundary changes

Following the 2023 boundary review by the Boundary Commission, the size of Leicester East decreased, with part of Evington ward now sitting in Leicester South.

Who are the candidates?

All candidates below are listed in alphabetical order, as they would appear on the ballot paper. The questions we asked the candidates were chosen by readers. Where candidates did not respond, we have sourced answers from candidates' websites, social media profiles, leaflets, and other election material.

Shockat Adam, independent

Photograph of Shockat Adam, smiling towards the camera. He is wearing a suit and against a plain background.
Adam is seen as the leading anti-Labour independent in the constituency. Photograph: Shockat Adam


Shockat Adam is one of two independents standing in Leicester South. He is a health worker who has campaigned against racism for over a decade. Adam has raised £710 on his election GoFundMe page, in an attempt to secure funds for his bid for parliament. His campaign has attracted national and international attention for his views on the Israel-Gaza conflict on news websites like The Canary, Middle East Eye, and The New Arab.

Key policies

  • Introduce online GP appointments and a same-day callback service
  • Implement virtual wards, better at-home care and maintain free healthcare
  • Increase funding for the NHS, including dental care
  • Work towards a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict, and prioritise peace in other countries around the world
  • Ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are treated with dignity and compassion, providing them with the support and resources they need
  • Support the right to peaceful protest, and critically assess institutional programmes like Prevent
  • Fight for a discounted energy social tariff for vulnerable households, and write off energy debt for the most vulnerable
  • Abolish the two-child benefit cap
  • Review food and farming industries to prevent exploitative supermarket pricing practices
  • Introduce a windfall tax on energy companies, which will also support free impartial debt advice services.

Candidate statement

“Leicester has been my home, my inspiration, and my foundation since I was young. It’s where I built my business, raised my family, and found my purpose. This city has given me so much, and now I want to give back.

“I understand our city’s heartbeat and feel its frustrations. Too many people feel left behind by what established political parties offer and how they respond to our concerns. Further austerity is not the answer. We will not realise Leicester’s potential if we are led by parties that seek to divide us or put their own needs ahead of ours.

“Our city needs a new approach. There is an alternative. I chose to stand as an independent candidate because I believe in the power of unity. If we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve for Leicester.

“From Sudan to Gaza, our calls for peace on a global scale have yet to be addressed. If I am elected, they will be heard.

“In Leicester itself, we must reverse growing inequality and the cost of living crisis, support the NHS, and create opportunities for our young people. There are many more issues, and we will face them together with new thinking.

“I will work with you to understand your experiences and harness your ideas for addressing our challenges. We will shape Leicester’s future, not those who believe they sit above us. If you vote for me on 4 July, you will see yourself in your elected representative.”

Q: Will you work to implement new schemes that aim to prevent young people from turning to crime?


“Creating safe and harmonious communities is a shared aspiration for all of us. While increased police visibility is crucial, it's just one aspect of achieving this goal. Collaborating with outreach programs in schools and colleges to educate about the risks of crime, particularly drug-related offences and knife violence, is equally vital. Additionally, fostering open and amicable dialogues with all segments of our diverse city population is essential. Our commonality far outstrips our differences.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour and Co-operative Party

Photograph of Jonathan Ashworth, smiling at the camera. He is wearing a black coat and grey jumper. He is stood on the road in the middle of terraced street.
Ashworth is defending the seat he's held for more than a decade. Photograph: Labour Party


Jonathan Ashworth is the sitting Labour and Co-op MP, and has served as the shadow paymaster general since September 2023. Previously, he was the shadow health and social care secretary until 2021 and then shadow work and pensions secretary until being appointed to his current role. He enjoys broad support in his constituency, and holds the largest Labour majority in the city.

Key policies

  • No increases to existing income tax rates, national insurance or VAT
  • Cut NHS waiting times with 40,000 more appointments a week by paying staff more to work weekends and evenings
  • Create a Border Security Command with counter-terror style powers to stop trafficking gangs and people smuggling
  • Set up Great British Energy, a publicly owned clean energy firm
  • Tackle antisocial behaviour with 13,000 more neighbourhood police and community support officers
  • Recruit 6,500 more teachers
  • Introduce free breakfast clubs at every primary school.

Candidate statement

“The NHS is in crisis after 14 years of the Tories. People here in Leicester wait longer for treatment. Our young people struggle to access decent mental health care. It’s difficult to see a GP when you want to. For too many, it’s impossible to access NHS dentistry.

“Pensioners have been forced to visit food banks. Rising energy bills have hammered family finances here in Leicester. It doesn’t have to be like this.

“I’m the only candidate in this campaign with a real history of fighting for the NHS and better patient care. I’m the only candidate with a history of helping local people through the cost of living crisis.

“A Labour government will deliver two million more appointments in the NHS to cut waiting times. Our plan to invest in renewable energy and clean power not only tackles the climate emergency but also creates good well-paid jobs and cuts energy bills for good. To help struggling families, we’ll introduce free breakfast clubs in primary schools, so no child starts the day hungry.

“We can change Leicester with a Labour government. Voting for anyone other than Labour helps the Tories win again. It’s time for change after 14 years of Tory failure. Labour has a fully costed and fully funded plan to deliver that real change. Don’t let the Tories have another five years. Vote Labour on 4 July.”

Q: What are your views on the privatisation of certain services in the NHS? How do you envisage an increasingly privatised health service, guaranteeing access to a decent health service for everyone?


“I'm passionate about the NHS, and for many years I've fought for better health services locally. Labour will: cut waiting times with two million more appointments a year, ensure more NHS dentistry appointments, and deliver mental health support in schools. Don't give the Tories five more years to run the NHS into the ground.”

Gerri Hickton, Conservative Party

Photograph of Gerri Hickton, smziling at the camera. The background is blank.
Hickton has been parachuted in from Derbyshire. Photograph: Conservative Party


Gerri Hickton is a former borough councillor for Erewash, Derbyshire. According to the Conservative Party, she has “over two decades of hands-on experience in the transport and logistics sector” and runs a “driving instruction business.” We have found little connection between Hickton and Leicester South, meaning that they could be one of the many candidates the Conservatives parachuted in after struggling to find people to stand in the election.

Key policies

  • Cut another 2p off national insurance by April 2027
  • Raise minimum pensions in line with inflation
  • Introduce mandatory National Service for 18-year-olds
  • Raise defence spending to 2.5 per cent of national income by 2030
  • Send asylum seekers to Rwanda to deter illegal Channel crossings
  • Introduce an annual cap on the number of migrant visas
  • Increase NHS spending above inflation every year 
  • Recruit 28,000 more doctors and 92,000 more nurses.

Candidate statement

“I’m Gerri Hickton, standing to be Leicester South’s Conservative MP. With over two decades of hands-on experience in the transport and logistics sector, I bring a wealth of practical knowledge to the table. As a transport shift manager at the Co-op, I draw from my background as a Class 1 Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver and a qualified HGV instructor.

“Additionally, I run my own driving instruction business and am currently pursuing an apprenticeship in coaching, highlighting my commitment to continuous learning and professional development. Running my own business means that I understand how frustrating it is when small businesses and historical markets have shut down because of Labour’s misuse of government-allocated funds. Small, local businesses are the pillar of our community, and I will work to be your voice.

“Over the years, I have been involved on the civilian committee of the local air cadets. I also served as a borough councillor for eight years, where I was the lead member for community engagement. My deep connection to the community and extensive public service experience have inspired me to run for Leicester South.

“My background uniquely qualifies me to address the needs of the community, particularly in fixing the local transport strategy. The cycle pop-up lanes are a prime example of Labour’s mismanagement – prioritising their own agenda over residents’ needs.

“Labour no longer represents you; they focus on themselves. I am committed to leveraging my expertise to make a meaningful impact and improve the quality of life for all constituents in Leicester South.”

The Conservatives did not respond to our readers' questions in time for publication, and their Leicester South candidate does not have significant election material available at the time of writing.

Carol Weaver, Liberal Democrats

Photograph of Carol Weaver. She is smiling towards the camera and is stood against a plain wall.
Weaver is also the former editor of East Midlands Bylines, a citizen journalism website. Photograph: Carol Weaver


Carol Weaver has been described by the Liberal Democrats as “an experienced Liberal Democrat campaigner.” She is the former chairperson of the Leicestershire European Movement, which campaigns to bring the UK closer to the EU. She has lectured in international relations and security at both De Montfort University and the University of Leicester.

Key policies

  • Introduce free personal care, like nursing at home, in England
  • Offer more support to unpaid carers
  • Give everyone the right to see their GP within seven days
  • Invest in renewable power and home insulation to cut bills and drive a strong economic recovery
  • Ban sewage discharges into rivers and seas
  • Repair the UK’s relationship with Europe
  • Introduce a proportional voting system to elect MPs.

Candidate statement

“Values, including human rights and caring for others, are why I joined the Liberal Democrats, plus their internationalist outlook. I believe in standing up for what is right.

“After my first career as a teacher, I lectured for computer companies before completing my PhD on European Security at the University of Leicester, then teaching at De Montfort University. Along the way, I’ve been a counsellor and international mediator, an author, an editor, the chair of the local European Movement, a parent and a part-time carer.

“We live in an increasingly dangerous world with the war in Ukraine and Putin’s threats; with the horrors of the Israel/Gaza conflict and an escalation risk; and with the rise of cyber threats from various sources including China. Unfortunately, these issues as well as social media disinformation and tensions on the Indian subcontinent are affecting Leicester in a destructive way.

“But the compassionate people of Leicester are not responsible for any of these world events. Communities should be working together to end racism and discrimination, not allowing external forces and the far right to take advantage. There should be no room for hatred.

“If elected I’ll work to save the NHS including mental health care, social care and dentistry; help household finances; look after the disabled and carers; and work with our communities, our schools, and our universities to restore local harmony. Liberal Democrats will fight against climate change and poverty. We will fight for clean air, good jobs, businesses, and the defence of our country.”

Q: Treatment and diagnosis for many neurodivergent conditions is not available for adults under the NHS, with the NHS refusing to diagnose and treat conditions such as dyspraxia. What is your position on this, and what will you do to change this?


“Having neurodivergent members of my wider family, I understand some of the problems involved. Diagnosis should be available on the currently overloaded NHS, and I would help constituents to be seen by an OT. Liberal Democrats would help to develop a cross-government strategy to tackle all aspects of discrimination faced by neurodiverse children and adults. Liberal Democrats would provide additional support and advice to employers on neurodiversity in the workplace, and develop a cross-government strategy to tackle all aspects of discrimination faced by neurodiverse children and adults.”

Also running for the seat are Ezechiel Adlore for the Monster Raving Loony Party, Osman Admani as an Independent, Anna Green for the Communist Party of Britain, Craig Harwood for Reform UK and Sharmen Rahman for the Green Party. We did not receive statements from the remaining candidates by the publication deadline.

Who's most likely to win?

Alistair Jones, associate professor in politics at De Montfort University, said:

“There are nine candidates standing, covering the full range of political backgrounds; from the Communist Party to Reform UK, from independents through to the mainstream parties, and finishing with the Monster Raving Loony Party. With such a wide range of alternatives, it is likely the anti-incumbent vote will split. Jonathan Ashworth, Labour and Co-op, to hold, with a slightly reduced majority.”

How do I vote?

You can cast your ballot in person between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, 4 July. You need to bring a form of photo ID to vote in person.

If you are not sure who to vote for, you can use our free, impartial voting advice tool to see how your views match what the parties are proposing. 

If you do not like any of the candidates, you can spoil your ballot in protest, which will register your disapproval of the available options.

You find your polling station, examples of photo ID, and our voting advice tool on our website here.

General Election 2024
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