Chris Leslie (politician)

Chris Leslie
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
11 May 2015  12 September 2015
Leader Harriet Harman (Acting)
Preceded by Ed Balls
Succeeded by John McDonnell
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
7 October 2013  11 May 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Rachel Reeves
Succeeded by Shabana Mahmood
Member of Parliament
for Nottingham East
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Heppell
Majority 11,894 (33.8%)
Member of Parliament
for Shipley
In office
1 May 1997  5 May 2005
Preceded by Marcus Fox
Succeeded by Philip Davies
Personal details
Born Christopher Michael Leslie
(1972-06-28) 28 June 1972
Keighley, England
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Nicola Murphy
Alma mater University of Leeds
Website Official website

Christopher Michael Leslie (born 28 June 1972) is a British Labour Co-operative politician, who 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 cabinet of Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman.

He was formerly 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]

Early life, 1972–1997

Born in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, Leslie went to Bingley Grammar School. He gained a BA in Politics & Parliamentary Studies in 1994 and an MA in Industrial and Labour Studies in 1996 from the University of Leeds.

From 1994 to 1996 he was an office administrator, going on to become a political research assistant in Bradford in 1996–97. He was elected to Parliament a month before his 25th birthday.[1][4]

Parliamentary career, 1997–2005

Leslie won the seat of Shipley as a Labour Co-operative candidate in the 1997 general election by beating Marcus Fox, the seat's Conservative MP since 1970. In the process, he 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 won by Labour from the Conservatives in 1997.

Leslie was the Baby of the House upon first entering the Commons.[1] He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Falconer for three and a half years.

Leslie held his seat again in 2001 with a halved majority of 1,428.

Shortly before his 30th birthday, Leslie 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 would then move 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.[5]

He subsequently lost his seat to the Conservatives' candidate Philip Davies during the 2005 general election by fewer than 500 votes.[1]

Out of Parliament, 2005–2010

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

On 14 April 2010, he was selected as the Parliamentary Candidate for Nottingham East in the general election campaign, after the Labour National Executive Committee imposed a shortlist and selection panel following the late resignation of the MP John Heppell.[9][10]

Return to Parliament

In the 2010 general election Christopher Leslie returned to Parliament representing Nottingham East, taking over from John Heppell.

He supported Ed Balls for the leadership of the Labour Party during the 2010 leadership election following the resignation of Gordon Brown, voting also 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. He replaced Stephen Timms, who was made Shadow Minister of State for Employment. On 7 October 2013 he was promoted to Shadow Cabinet, becoming Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In May 2015, he was promoted to Shadow Chancellor, replacing Ed Balls, who 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".[11] On 12 September 2015, Leslie resigned from the Labour front bench following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the party.

Personal life

In February 2005, he married Nicola Murphy, a special adviser to Gordon Brown, in Westminster,[12] having become engaged the previous year.[13] In April 2016 Nicola Murphy founded Labour Tomorrow, an organisation that funds groups that oppose Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.[14][15]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 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. 1 2 Christopher Leslie, They Work For You, retrieved 2 September 2010
  4. From campus to Commons in just six months, Leeds University Reporter, 19 May 1997, retrieved 2 September 2010
  5. They Work For You
  6. Chris Leslie: Statement in full, BBC News, 29 November 2007, retrieved 2 September 2010
  7. 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
  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. Nicholas Watt (3 August 2015). "Corbyn's economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  12. MP marries a Treasury adviser at Westminster, Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 24 February 2005, retrieved 2 September 2010
  13. 'Yes, Minister' – New Labour proposal wins over MP's girlfriend, The Yorkshire Post, 5 May 2004, retrieved 2 September 2010
  14. "Anti-Corbyn Group Amasses £250,000 Fighting Fund". Sky News. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  15. Rajeev Syal (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

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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