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Chris was first elected to represent Nottingham East in 2010, since when he has taken on parliamentary roles including Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, been a member of the International Trade Select Committee and chair of All Party Groups including on Kashmir, Child Contact Centres & Services and the East Midlands.
From 2005 until 2010 he was the Director of the New Local Government Network, campaigning for more power to be devolved to local people – as well as a trustee of the national debt advice charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
Before that he represented Shipley in West Yorkshire from 1997 until 2005 during which time Chris was a Minister in several departments, with responsibilities including the courts, elections policy, local and regional government and civil contingencies at the Cabinet Office.
He is married to Nicola and has one daughter.
In 2018 Chris Leslie published a pamphlet with the Social Market Foundation called Centre Ground – Six Values of Mainstream Britain.
“There has to be a better way forward”
Chris’s statement 18 February 2019
This has not been an easy decision for any of us.
We’ve all been Labour members for very many years – in my case for more than three decades.
But the Labour Party we joined – that we campaigned for and believed in – is no longer today’s Labour Party. We did everything we could to save it, but it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left.
As Luciana said, our values haven’t changed – we absolutely oppose this Conservative Government and desperately want an alternative which tackles the barriers of poverty and discrimination by extending opportunity for all.
But British politics is now well and truly broken.
And in all conscience, we can no longer knock on doors and support a Government led by Jeremy Corbyn or the team around him.
Well, for a start, the evidence of Labour’s betrayal on Europe is now visible for all to see.
Offering to actually enable this Government’s Brexit. Constantly holding back from allowing the public a final say.
Conference policy has been cast aside: no guaranteed full participation in the Single Market any more; no ‘exact same benefits’; no movement towards a People’s Vote.
Choosing to stand by, while our constituents’ lives and future opportunities are hurt by Brexit, is a fundamental violation of Labour’s traditional values.
But our differences go far deeper than Brexit. The past three years have confirmed how irresponsible it would be to allow this Leader of the Opposition to take the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Many people still in the Labour Party will privately admit this to be true – but we owe it to our constituents now to say it publicly and honestly.
The pursuit of policies that would threaten our national security, through hostility to NATO.
The refusal to act when needed to help those facing humanitarian distress.
Preferring to believe states hostile to our country, rather than believing our police and security services.
These are all rooted in the Labour leadership’s obsession with a narrow, outdated ideology.
They are hostile to business, large and small.
They make impossible promises which everyone knows, in their hearts, couldn’t be kept without putting our economy at risk.
And they constantly pit one part of society against another – because to them the world divides between oppressor and oppressed, class enemies, when in truth the modern world is more complicated than this.
And then, as Luciana was saying, there is an appalling culture:
- Closing down of debate
- Abuse and hatred online – as we’re seeing this morning – and offline, in Party meetings
So we have no choice but to say collectively: enough is enough.
There has to be a better way forward. And there can be a better way forward.