Christopher Michael Leslie (born 28 June 1972) is a British independent politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nottingham East since 2010. In 2015, between May and September, he served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the shadow cabinet of acting Labour leader Harriet Harman.
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. 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.
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.
Parliamentary career (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. 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. He never rebelled against a Government position during his first time in Parliament including voting in favour of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Out of Parliament (2005–10)
Leslie led Gordon Brown's successful (and uncontested) campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2007. 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".
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.
Return to Parliament (2010–present)
Leslie returned to Parliament at the 2010 general election, representing Nottingham East.
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. He replaced Stephen Timms, who was made Shadow Minister of State for Employment. 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, replacing Ed Balls, who had lost his parliamentary seat in the 2015 general election.
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". 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 and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.
In June 2018 Leslie published a pamphlet through the Social Market Foundation, where he is a member of the Policy Advisory Board, entitled Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain. In August the same year The Guardian reported that "many saw the document as laying the intellectual groundwork for a future new [political] party," however Leslie denied this.
Vote of No Confidence
In September 2018, Leslie lost a vote of no confidence brought by his CLP 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 for Nottingham East. Leslie did not attend the vote and had earlier remarked that the party had been infiltrated by the "intolerant hard left". Centrist Labour MPs rallied around Leslie online.
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 of MPs.
In February 2005, he married Nicola Murphy, a special adviser to Gordon Brown, in Westminster; the couple became engaged the previous year. In April 2016, Nicola Murphy founded Labour Tomorrow, an organisation which funds Labour-connected activists and groups who oppose Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
- "Chris Leslie: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Chris Leslie MP". New Local Government Network. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "Christopher Leslie". They Work For You. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Seven MPs leave Labour in Corbyn protest". BBC News. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- "From campus to Commons in just six months". Leeds University Reporter. 19 May 1997. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Chris Leslie MP, Nottingham East". TheyWorkForYou.
- "Chris Leslie: Statement in full". BBC News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "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.
- "Brum in turmoil over Mayoral vote". Local Government Chronicle. 21 September 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Brian Brady (11 April 2010). "The leaders: Activists threaten rebellion as Brown helps secure seat for ally". The Independent. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Michael Crick (12 April 2010). "Nottingham East update". BBC. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Watt, Nicholas (3 August 2015). "Corbyn's economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "MPs ﬂock to support Labour Israel group". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 September 2016.
- "Parliamentary Supporters". LFPME.
- "About Us". Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
- Leslie, Chris (June 2018). Centre Ground: Six Values of Mainstream Britain. Social Market Foundation.
- Stewart, Heather (20 August 2018). "Prospect of a new UK party grows as Brexit shifts ground at Westminster". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- Coates, Sam (18 June 2018). "Corbyn critic makes pitch to win the centre ground". The Times. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- Bush, Stephen (28 September 2018). "Labour MP Chris Leslie loses confidence vote by his CLP". New Statesman. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- Sandeman, Kit (7 September 2018). "Vote of no confidence passed against Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- Coulter, Martin (29 September 2018). "Corbyn-critic Labour MP Chris Leslie loses vote of no confidence". Politics Home. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- "MP marries a Treasury adviser at Westminster". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 24 February 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "'Yes, Minister' – New Labour proposal wins over MP's girlfriend". The Yorkshire Post. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Anti-Corbyn Group Amasses £250,000 Fighting Fund". Sky News. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Syal, Rajeev (21 September 2016). "New anti-Corbyn group is funded by former Tony Blair spin doctor". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
| Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East
| Baby of the House
| Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
| Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer