Chris Leslie

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Chris Leslie
Official portrait, 2017
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
Ministerial offices
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 byNick Raynsford[a]
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
Parliamentary offices
Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byJohn Heppell
Succeeded byNadia Whittome
Member of Parliament
for Shipley
In office
1 May 1997 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byMarcus Fox
Succeeded byPhilip Davies
Personal details
Christopher Michael Leslie

(1972-06-28) 28 June 1972 (age 51)
Keighley, England
Political partyIndependent (since 2019)
Other political
Change UK (2019)
Labour and Co-operative (until 2019)
SpouseNicola Murphy
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
WebsiteOfficial website
Other offices

Christopher Michael Leslie (born 28 June 1972) is a debt collection executive and a former British politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Shipley from 1997 to 2005 and Nottingham East from 2010 to 2019. A former member of the Labour Party, he defected to form Change UK and later became an independent politician.

Born in Keighley, Leslie was educated at Bingley Grammar School and graduated from the University of Leeds with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Parliamentary Studies and a Master of Arts in Industrial and Labour Studies. After working as an office administrator and political researcher, he was elected to Parliament for Shipley aged 24 at the 1997 general election.

Leslie was a minister in the Department for Constitutional Affairs from 2001 to 2005 but lost his seat at the 2005 general election. He was director of the New Local Government Network think-tank from 2005 until being elected for Nottingham East at the 2010 general election.

Between May and September 2015, Leslie 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, later Change UK.

Early life (1972–1997)[edit]

Leslie was born in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, and attended Bingley Grammar School before becoming a student at the University of Leeds, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Parliamentary Studies. From 1994 to 1996, he was an office administrator and gained a Master of Arts in Industrial and Labour Studies in 1996, afterwards becoming a political research assistant in Bradford. He was elected to Parliament a month before his 25th birthday.[1][2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In Parliament (1997–2005)[edit]

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, remaining so until June 2000 when David Lammy, three weeks Leslie’s junior, was elected.[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.[4]

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)[edit]

Leslie led Gordon Brown's successful (and uncontested) campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2007.[5][6] 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".[7][8]

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.[9][10]

Return to Parliament (2010–2019)[edit]

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,[11] while receiving income as a residential landlord himself.[12]

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".[13] 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[14] and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.[15]

In June 2018 Leslie published a pamphlet through the Social Market Foundation, where he is a member of the Policy Advisory Board,[16] entitled Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain.[17] In August the same year The Guardian reported that "many saw the document as laying the intellectual groundwork for a future new [political] party,"[18] however Leslie denied this.[19]

Vote of No confidence[edit]

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.[20] Leslie did not attend the vote and had earlier remarked that the party had been infiltrated by the "intolerant hard left".[21] Centrist Labour MPs rallied around Leslie online.[22]

The Independent Group[edit]

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, later Change UK.[23] He continued to serve as a Change UK MP after six of its 11 MPs left the party in June 2019.[24] He lost the Nottingham East constituency to the Labour candidate Nadia Whittome in the 2019 general election, losing his deposit with 3.6% of the vote.[25]

Life after parliament[edit]

In July 2020, Leslie was appointed chief executive of the Credit Services Association, the trade association of the UK debt collection and purchase industry.[26]

Personal life[edit]

In February 2005, he married Nicola Murphy, a special adviser to Gordon Brown, in Westminster;[27] the couple became engaged the previous year.[28] In April 2016, Nicola Murphy founded Labour Tomorrow, an organisation which funded Labour-connected activists and groups who oppose Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.[29][30]


  1. ^ Office vacant between 29 July 1999 and 29 May 2002.


  1. ^ a b c d "Chris Leslie: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  2. ^ "From campus to Commons in just six months". Leeds University Reporter. 19 May 1997. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Christopher Leslie". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Chris Leslie MP, Nottingham East". TheyWorkForYou.
  5. ^ "Chris Leslie: Statement in full". BBC News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Chris Leslie MP". New Local Government Network. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Brum in turmoil over Mayoral vote". Local Government Chronicle. 21 September 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  9. ^ Brian Brady (11 April 2010). "The leaders: Activists threaten rebellion as Brown helps secure seat for ally". The Independent. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  10. ^ Michael Crick (12 April 2010). "Nottingham East update". BBC. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  11. ^ Stewart, Heather (30 May 2015). "Chris Leslie: 'The temptation for the centre left is to step in and take control'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  12. ^ Morley, Em (3 June 2015). "Labour's New Shadow Chancellor Against Rent Controls (and He's a Landlord)". Landlord News.
  13. ^ Watt, Nicholas (3 August 2015). "Corbyn's economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  14. ^ "MPs flock to support Labour Israel group". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". LFPME.
  16. ^ "About Us". Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  17. ^ Leslie, Chris (June 2018). Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain. Social Market Foundation.
  18. ^ Stewart, Heather (20 August 2018). "Prospect of a new UK party grows as Brexit shifts ground at Westminster". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  19. ^ Coates, Sam (18 June 2018). "Corbyn critic makes pitch to win the centre ground". The Times. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  20. ^ Bush, Stephen (28 September 2018). "Labour MP Chris Leslie loses confidence vote by his CLP". New Statesman. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  21. ^ Sandeman, Kit (7 September 2018). "Vote of no confidence passed against Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  22. ^ Coulter, Martin (29 September 2018). "Corbyn-critic Labour MP Chris Leslie loses vote of no confidence". Politics Home. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Seven MPs leave Labour in Corbyn protest". BBC News. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ Fahy, Natalie (11 December 2019). "Labour regains Nottingham East in the 2019 General Election". nottinghampost. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  26. ^ "CSA appoints Chris Leslie as Chief Executive". Credit Services Association. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  27. ^ "MP marries a Treasury adviser at Westminster". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 24 February 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  28. ^ "'Yes, Minister' – New Labour proposal wins over MP's girlfriend". The Yorkshire Post. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  29. ^ "Anti-Corbyn Group Amasses £250,000 Fighting Fund". Sky News. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  30. ^ Syal, Rajeev (21 September 2016). "New anti-Corbyn group is funded by former Tony Blair spin doctor". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Shipley

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East

Succeeded by
Preceded by Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by