Who is Chris Leslie? Ex-Labour minister who resigned from party to become an Independent MP

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Who is Chris Leslie? Ex-Labour minister who resigned from party to become an Independent MP



CHRIS Leslie is one of the Labour rebels who dramatically quit the party in protest at leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Here’s what you need to know about former government minister and his bombshell resignation.
Chris Leslie is the MP for Nottingham East
Who is Chris Leslie?
Chris Leslie, 46, was born in Keighley, West Yorks, and went to a state grammar school before studying politics at Leeds University.
He was elected to Parliament a month before his 25th birthday, representing Labour in the Shipley constituency near where he grew up.
At the time he was the youngest MP in the Commons.
He became a junior minister in Tony Blair’s government when he was just 29.
But his ministerial career hit the buffers when he lost his seat at the 2005 election.
He remained close to senior figures and led Gordon Brown’s bid to become leader in 2007.
And in 2010 he returned to Parliament as MP for Nottingham East, the seat he still holds.
He was shadow chief secretary to the treasury in Ed Miliband’s Opposition, and was briefly shadow chancellor when Harriet Harman served as interim leader in 2015.
Since then he has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies as “starry-eyed” and “hard-left”.
After the 2017 election he said Labour had missed an “open goal”. Corbyn ally Clive Lewis attacked him as “a sad, lonely bitter man”.
Far-left activists have tried to oust Mr Leslie from his Commons seat in revenge for his outspoken criticism.
In September 2018 supporters said he was the “victim of a purge” after losing a vote of no confidence among members in his constituency.
The pro-EU rebel also defied the leadership over Europe, demanding Mr Corbyn back a second referendum.
He told the Commons in February 2019: “By now we should have reached the stage of a public vote. No one can explain to me why we are not at that particular stage now.
“It is a moment we needed leadership and we are seeing party political calculations tragically putting themselves ahead of national interest.”
Mr Leslie is married to Nicola Murphy, a former adviser to Gordon Brown who in 2016 set up the centrist campaign group Labour Tomorrow.
Getty Images – Getty Chris Leslie with the Labour rebels who have formed the breakaway Independent Group
Why did Chris Leslie resign from the Labour party?
In February 2019 Chris Leslie and six other centrist MPs announced they were quitting Labour in protest at Mr Corbyn’s stance on Brexit and the anti-Semitism scandal.
They have formed The Independent Group and will continue to sit in the House of Commons as independents after resigning the Labour whip.
The rebels said Labour has become “a racist and anti-Semitic party” under Mr Corbyn and blasted the leader’s Brexit stance, including his refusal to back a second referendum.
Although it is not yet a formal party, they issued an appeal to MPs from all sides to “leave the old tribal politics behind” and join their new grouping.
Mr Leslie said that Labour had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.
He added: “We can no longer knock on doors and support a government led by Jeremy Corbyn and the team around him.
“This has not been an easy decision for any of us. We have all been Labour MPs for years.
“But the Labour party we joined is no longer today’s Labour party.”
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Mr Leslie said the group would not quit their seats in Parliament, adding: “This is a time of national crisis – by-elections are not what was needed right now.”
Mr Umunna, seen as likely leader of the group, hinted at a future centrist party as he said: “Fundamental change is needed.
“The established parties are not up to this change. They can’t be the change as they have become the problem.”
Seven Labour MPs quit the party in protest against Jeremy Corbyn

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