Chris Leslie

Christopher Michael Leslie (born 28 June 1972) is a British politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Nottingham East from 2010 until 2019.

Chris Leslie
Deputy Leader of The Independent Group for Change
Assumed office
4 June 2019
LeaderAnna Soubry
Preceded byGavin Shuker (Convener) &
Chuka Umunna (Spokesperson)
Change UK Spokesperson for Economics and Trade
Assumed office
1 March 2019
LeaderHeidi Allen (Acting)
Anna Soubry
Preceded byPosition established
Shadow Cabinet positions
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
11 May 2015  12 September 2015
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded byEd Balls
Succeeded byJohn McDonnell
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
7 October 2013  11 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byRachel Reeves
Succeeded byShabana Mahmood
Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
8 October 2010  7 October 2013
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byStephen Timms
Succeeded byShabana Mahmood
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs
In office
13 June 2003  5 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byBridget Prentice
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Regeneration and Regional Development
In office
29 May 2002  13 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byYvette Cooper
Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office
In office
11 June 2001  29 May 2002
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byGraham Stringer
Succeeded byDouglas Alexander
Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East
In office
6 May 2010  6 November 2019
Preceded byJohn Heppell
Succeeded byNadia Whittome
Majority19,590 (49.9%)
Member of Parliament
for Shipley
In office
1 May 1997  11 April 2005
Preceded byMarcus Fox
Succeeded byPhilip Davies
Majority1,428 (3.1%)
Personal details
Christopher Michael Leslie

(1972-06-28) 28 June 1972
Keighley, England
Political partyChange UK (since 2019)
Other political
Labour Co-op (until 2019)
Spouse(s)Nicola Murphy
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
WebsiteOfficial website

Earlier in his political career, Leslie was the MP for Shipley from 1997 to 2005 and a minister in the Department for Constitutional Affairs from 2001 to 2005. Between 2005 and his 2010 re-election, he worked as the director of the New Local Government Network think-tank.[1][2][3]

In 2015, between May and September, he served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the shadow cabinet of acting Labour leader Harriet Harman. In 2018, he lost a motion of no confidence by his constituency party. In February 2019, Leslie left Labour alongside six other MPs in protest at the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn to form The Independent Group, now The Independent Group for Change. He became the group's deputy leader following the resignations of Gavin Shuker and Chuka Umunna as convener and spokesperson respectively.[4][5]

Early life (1972–1997)

Born in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, Leslie attended Bingley Grammar School before becoming a student at Leeds University graduating in 1994 with a BA in Politics & Parliamentary Studies, and gaining an MA in Industrial and Labour Studies in 1996.

From 1994 to 1996, he was an office administrator, later a political research assistant in Bradford in 1996–97. He was elected to Parliament a month before his 25th birthday.[1][6]

Parliamentary career

In Parliament (1997–2005)

Leslie gained the seat of Shipley as a Labour Co-operative candidate in the 1997 general election defeating Marcus Fox, the chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee and Shipley's Conservative MP since 1970. In the process, Leslie overturned a 12,382 majority, to return a 2,966 majority of his own. It was the neighbouring seat to his hometown of Keighley, another seat taken by Labour from the Conservatives in 1997.

Leslie was the Baby of the House when he first entered the Commons.[1] He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Falconer for three-and-a-half years. Leslie held his seat in 2001, but his majority was reduced by a half to 1,428.

Shortly before his 30th birthday, he became a junior minister in the Cabinet Office in 2001, following the recent election. In 2002, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He then moved to spend almost two years as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, working again under Falconer from 2003 to 2005.[1] He never rebelled against a Government position during his first time in Parliament[3] including voting in favour of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.[7]

In the 2005 general election, Leslie lost his seat to Conservative candidate Philip Davies, by fewer than 500 votes.[1]

Out of Parliament (2005–10)

Leslie led Gordon Brown's successful (and uncontested) campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2007.[8][9] Having lost his seat in Shipley, in 2005, he became the director of the New Local Government Network, which was described in the Local Government Chronicle in 2001 as a "Blairite think-tank".[10]

On 14 April 2010, he was selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Nottingham East in the general election campaign, after the National Executive Committee imposed a shortlist and selection panel, following the late resignation of the MP John Heppell.[11][12]

Return to Parliament (2010–present)

Leslie returned to Parliament at the 2010 general election, representing Nottingham East.

He supported Ed Balls for the leadership of the Labour Party during the 2010 leadership election following the resignation of Gordon Brown, voting for David Miliband as his second preference.

In September 2011, he stood in the shadow cabinet elections but missed out on becoming a shadow cabinet minister, however he was promoted to Her Majesty's Opposition becoming Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury. On 7 October 2013, he was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, becoming Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In May 2015, he was promoted to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, replacing Ed Balls, who had lost his parliamentary seat in the 2015 general election. In this role he opposed Labour's proposals for rent controls[13], while receiving income as a residential landlord himself.[14]

Leslie supported Yvette Cooper in the 2015 Labour leadership election, and was critical of the economic policies of Jeremy Corbyn, calling them "starry-eyed, hard left".[15] On 12 September 2015, Leslie resigned from the Labour front bench following the election of Corbyn as party leader. Leslie is a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel[16] and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.[17]

In June 2018 Leslie published a pamphlet through the Social Market Foundation, where he is a member of the Policy Advisory Board,[18] entitled Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain.[19] In August the same year The Guardian reported that "many saw the document as laying the intellectual groundwork for a future new [political] party,"[20] however Leslie denied this.[21]

Vote of No confidence

In September 2018, Leslie lost a vote of no confidence brought by his Constituency Labour Party and became the fourth Labour MP to have such a motion passed against him. The motion, brought by members of the Mapperley branch of Nottingham East, criticised Leslie for his "disloyalty and deceit", which it dubbed "a severe impediment to Labour Party electability", and as "incompatible" with Leslie continuing as the Labour candidate.[22] Leslie did not attend the vote and had earlier remarked that the party had been infiltrated by the "intolerant hard left".[23] Centrist Labour MPs rallied around Leslie online.[24]

The Independent Group

On 18 February 2019, Leslie and six other MPs (Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey) quit Labour in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership to form The Independent Group.[4] Leslie lost the Nottingham East constituency to the Labour candidate Nadia Whittome in the December 2019 United Kingdom general election, losing his deposit with 3.6% of the vote.[25]

Personal life

In February 2005, he married Nicola Murphy, a special adviser to Gordon Brown, in Westminster;[26] the couple became engaged the previous year.[27] In April 2016, Nicola Murphy founded Labour Tomorrow, an organisation which funds Labour-connected activists and groups who oppose Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.[28][29]


  1. "Chris Leslie: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  2. "Chris Leslie MP". New Local Government Network. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  3. "Christopher Leslie". They Work For You. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  4. "Seven MPs leave Labour in Corbyn protest". BBC News. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  5. "Change UK loses more than half its MPs as Anna Soubry is elected as new leader". The Independent. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  6. "From campus to Commons in just six months". Leeds University Reporter. 19 May 1997. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  7. "Chris Leslie MP, Nottingham East". TheyWorkForYou.
  8. "Chris Leslie: Statement in full". BBC News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  9. "Chris Leslie: If Brown is bold, he can make the voters turn back to Labour". The Yorkshire Post. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  10. "Brum in turmoil over Mayoral vote". Local Government Chronicle. 21 September 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  11. Brian Brady (11 April 2010). "The leaders: Activists threaten rebellion as Brown helps secure seat for ally". The Independent. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  12. Michael Crick (12 April 2010). "Nottingham East update". BBC. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  13. The Guardian
  14. Landlord News
  15. Watt, Nicholas (3 August 2015). "Corbyn's economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  16. "MPs flock to support Labour Israel group". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 September 2016.
  17. "Parliamentary Supporters". LFPME.
  18. "About Us". Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  19. Leslie, Chris (June 2018). Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain. Social Market Foundation.
  20. Stewart, Heather (20 August 2018). "Prospect of a new UK party grows as Brexit shifts ground at Westminster". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  21. Coates, Sam (18 June 2018). "Corbyn critic makes pitch to win the centre ground". The Times. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  22. Bush, Stephen (28 September 2018). "Labour MP Chris Leslie loses confidence vote by his CLP". New Statesman. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  23. Sandeman, Kit (7 September 2018). "Vote of no confidence passed against Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  24. Coulter, Martin (29 September 2018). "Corbyn-critic Labour MP Chris Leslie loses vote of no confidence". Politics Home. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  25. Fahy, Natalie (11 December 2019). "Labour regains Nottingham East in the 2019 General Election". nottinghampost. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  26. "MP marries a Treasury adviser at Westminster". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 24 February 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  27. "'Yes, Minister' – New Labour proposal wins over MP's girlfriend". The Yorkshire Post. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  28. "Anti-Corbyn Group Amasses £250,000 Fighting Fund". Sky News. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  29. Syal, Rajeev (21 September 2016). "New anti-Corbyn group is funded by former Tony Blair spin doctor". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Marcus Fox
Member of Parliament
for Shipley

Succeeded by
Philip Davies
Preceded by
John Heppell
Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East

Succeeded by
Nadia Whittome
Preceded by
Matthew Taylor
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
David Lammy
Political offices
Preceded by
Rachel Reeves
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Shabana Mahmood
Preceded by
Ed Balls
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
John McDonnell
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