Charlotte Leslie

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Charlotte Leslie
Member of Parliament
for Bristol North West
In office
6 May 2010 – 9 June 2017
Preceded by Doug Naysmith
Succeeded by Darren Jones
Majority 4,944 (9.5%)
Personal details
Born (1978-08-11) 11 August 1978 (age 38)
Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford

Charlotte Leslie (born 11 August 1978[1] in Liverpool) is a British Conservative Party politician. She was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bristol North West constituency, losing her seat in the 2017 general election [2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Liverpool in 1978,[3] Leslie's family moved to Bristol aged two. Her father worked as an orthopaedic surgeon at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and the Bristol Royal Infirmary.[4] Her mother is a British triathlon champion for her age group,[5] and in 2013, finished 9th in the World Triathlon Grand Final.[6] Leslie attended Badminton School and Millfield, before studying Classics at Balliol College, Oxford.[7] She graduated in 2001.[8] She used to swim competitively, representing City of Bristol, and made the age-group national finals in 200m and 100m backstroke.[4]


Whilst at university, and immediately afterwards, Leslie worked as a lifeguard on the beaches of North Cornwall, and then as a swimming coach and gym instructor at Thornbury Leisure Centre and part-time in a local pub. She later worked in television, for the BBC on The Weakest Link and The Holiday Programme, as well as on independent programmes on the BBC and Sky.[4] She has also worked as a part-time tutor in Classics and as a governor of Oxford Gardens Primary School in London and Avonmouth Primary School in Bristol.[9]

In 2005, she joined the Policy Exchange think tank. Whilst there, she co-authored the report, More Good School Places, which was the first to recommend a "Pupil Premium" of £6000 extra funding for each disadvantaged child in the country’s state schools.[10] This policy was later adopted by the Coalition Government in 2010.

She later worked as an advisor to David Willetts, the then Shadow Secretary of state for Children, Schools and Families, focusing mainly on special needs education, and for the Young Foundation and the National Autistic Society.[4]

Before her election in 2010, she edited Crossbow, the journal of the Bow Group,[4] and wrote for a variety of publications, including a regular blog for The Guardian [11] and the Daily Mail about life as a candidate.[12]

In Parliament (2010–2017)[edit]

In the General Election of 6 May 2010, Charlotte Leslie was elected as the Member of Parliament for the bellwether constituency of Bristol North West at the age of thirty-one, making her one of the youngest MPs in Parliament. She polled 19,115 votes, 3,274 ahead of the Liberal Democrat candidate,[13] and achieved a swing of 8.86% from the incumbent Labour Party.[14]

She made her maiden speech on 2 June 2010, focusing on the educational divisions existing in her constituency and praising organisations like Teach First which seek to break down such barriers.[15]

She became a member of the Education Select Committee in 2010, stepping down in 2013 after she became a member of the Health Select Committee.[13] In 2011, she was appointed as the Government’s "Big Society" ambassador by the Prime Minister.[16]

Leslie became more prominent in 2013 after the publication of the report of the Francis Inquiry into the scandal at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. She was praised for her campaign calling for David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS, to resign.[17] This culminated in her winning "Backbencher of the Year" at The Spectator’s 2013 Parliamentarian of the Year awards.[18]

She has also led calls in Parliament for the creation of a Royal College of Teaching,[19] publishing a book on the subject in 2013.[20] She is a trustee on the Teacher Development Trust.[21]

She re-formed the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Boxing in 2011, and is its current chair.[22] She is also a member of the APPGs on Autism, Beer, National Citizens’ Service and Volunteering, and Sport.[4]

She was praised in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech of 2012 for her campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator, which added 2% plus inflation to the cost of beer each year. Osborne removed the escalator and cut 1p off beer duty.[23]

In April 2014 she apologised to the House for failing to declare £17,000 of donations in the register of MPs' interests.[24]

Leslie chairs the Commons all-party group on Saudi Arabia. Before Christmas in 2016 she accepted a "food hamper with an estimated value of £500" from the Saudi Arabian embassy in London.[25] In April 2017 she made a five-day trip to Saudi Arabia, paid for by the sheikhdom, to "strengthen British-Saudi Arabian diplomatic relations". During the visit she met with the country's deputy crown prince and defence minister in charge of the Saudis' controversial intervention in the Yemeni civil war.[26]


Leslie announced before the Brexit referendum that she would support Brexit [27][28]

Previously she had been a member of the Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs, which campaigned for far-reaching reform of the European Union. She contributed to its work on social and employment law [29] and on the EU’s impact on the National Health Service.[30] In 2011, she presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill to exempt the NHS from the Working Time Directive.[31]

In Bristol (2010– )[edit]

Locally, her work has focused on transport. She has campaigned extensively for the reopening of the Henbury Loop rail line around the north of her constituency,[32] and for the introduction of a smartcard on local transport.[33]

She supported the creation of an elected mayoralty in Bristol,[34] which became the only one of the cities voting on an elected mayor to choose to have one in 2012.

She is a strong supporter of Free Schools and worked with local parents to form a "Parents Voice" group [35] to set up the Bristol Free School, which, in 2011, became one of the first Free Schools to open.

In 2013, Leslie backed Bristol Rovers’ plans to move to a new stadium.[36] She spoke out strongly against the TRASH group’s opposition to the proposal for a new Sainsburys on the current Memorial Ground site.[37] Her petition on the subject attracted over 13,000 signatures, and the High Court review of the decision to grant planning permission was dismissed.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Leslie lives in Westbury-on-Trym in her constituency.[4] In her spare time, she enjoys surfing, writing, art, Bob Dylan, running and swimming. She is the President of Avonmouth National Smelting Company Boxing Club.[4] In 2011, website ranked her as the sexiest MP in Parliament.[39]

She became engaged to John Darvall, a BBC Radio Bristol presenter and twice married father of four, on Christmas Day, 2014.[40] Just before the 2015 general election Darvall was moved from his news based morning show to an afternoon slot to protect the BBC's impartiality and to avoid accusations of a conflict of interest when he interviews his fiancée. The presenter strongly objected to the change.[41] In July 2016 she announced that they had broken up "a few months ago".[42]


  1. ^ "Charlotte Leslie MP". Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Election 2010: Bristol North West". BBC News. BBC. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "UK Polling Report". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Charlotte". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  5. ^ Bristol, The (2013-07-22). "MP's mum to 'tri' for world title after British triathlon win". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  6. ^ "Jane Leslie". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Charlotte Leslie MP". Voices From Oxford. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  8. ^ "Syria – Clarity and Credibility were of the essence, not speed!". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  9. ^ John Rentoul (2005-12-09). "Charlotte Leslie MP". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  10. ^ Rt Hon Michael Gove MP on The Renewal of Government (2005-12-09). "More Good School Places". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  11. ^ "Charlotte Leslie". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  12. ^ "Charlotte Leslie: Diary of a Tory Candidate". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  13. ^ a b "Charlotte Leslie MP". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  14. ^ "UK general election 2010: list of constituency results". 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  15. ^ "Charlotte Leslie makes maiden Commons speech". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  16. ^ "Government announces Big Society ambassadors". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  17. ^ "Charlotte Leslie MP: Sir David Nicholson must not be allowed to appoint 'comrades' to senior NHS positions". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  18. ^ "Parliamentarian of Year awards 2013: the winners". 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  19. ^ "A Royal College of Teaching could work – if it's a politician-free zone". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  20. ^  . "RCoTBooklet.pdf" (PDF). Dropbox. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  21. ^ "Mission". Teacher Development Trust. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  22. ^ "Boxing encouraged by Bristol MP's all-party group". 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  23. ^ "Budget 2013: Chancellor praises Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie's campaign to scrap duty escalator". 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  24. ^ "Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie apologises for failing to declare cash donations". 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  25. ^ "Culture cash". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 10 February 2017. 
  26. ^ Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 19 May 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Statement on EU Referendum | Charlotte Leslie". Retrieved 2017-04-23. 
  28. ^ "Bristol North West MP chooses Brexit". ITV. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  29. ^ "A pan-European Conference for EU reform" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "The EU and the NHS" (PDF). Fresh Start. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Charlotte Leslie's Ten Minute Rule Bill on the European Working Time Directive". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  32. ^ "Bristol Henbury Loop railway line case pushed by MP". 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  33. ^ Bristol, The (2013-10-04). ""Why Bristol needs its own Oyster card": MP Charlotte Leslie". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  34. ^ "Charlotte Leslie backs campaign to have an elected mayor for Bristol". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  35. ^ "'Parents' Voice' campaign for a new secondary school launched". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  36. ^ Bristol, The (2013-11-07). "Bristol Rovers stadium row: MP gets David Cameron onside". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  37. ^ Bristol, The (2013-10-15). "TRASH Campaigners are "holding Bristol to ransom", says MP". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  38. ^ Bristol, The (2014-03-21). "Game on: Bristol Rovers' joy as judge kicks out objections to store". Bristol Post. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  39. ^ Schofield, Kevin (2011-05-31). "Website ranks MPs' sex appeal". The Sun. News UK. Retrieved 2014-06-12. (Subscription required (help)). 
  40. ^ "Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie to marry BBC Radio Bristol presenter". Bristol Post. 
  41. ^ "BBC Radio DJ vents anger after being ousted for getting engaged to Tory MP", Daily Telegraph, 27 March 2015
  42. ^ Moore, Charlie (16 July 2016). "'Baywatch' Tory MP Charlotte Leslie splits with local radio presenter fiance after five years but says they will remain 'the very closest friends'". Mailonline. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Doug Naysmith
Member of Parliament for Bristol North West