Richard Ashworth was elected a Member of the European Parliament in 2004 standing for the Conservative Party, and served as leader of the UK Conservative MEPs in 2012.
Before being elected in 2004 he was a dairy farmer in East Sussex for over thirty years and during this time operated his own dairy business. He has also acted as chairman of United Milk Plc and of NFU Corporate. He was a member of the Minister of Agriculture’s food chain advisory committee.
He was the Conservative Spokesman on the EU BUDGETS Committee in the European Parliament.
Together with colleague Julie Girling Richard left the UK Conservative party delegation group in the European Parliament (ECR) having had the whip withdrawn on 7 October 2017 after both supported a vote in Strasbourg stating that not enough progress had been made in the first stage Brexit negotiations to allow discussion to move onto the trade-deal phase of the talks.
Earlier in 2019 Richard decided along with July Girling to join Change UK The Independent to ensure the United Kingdom remains in the European Union.