John Leech (politician)

John Leech (politician)

Infobox MP
honorific-prefix =
name = John Leech
honorific-suffix =MP
party = Liberal Democrat

imagesize = 200px
constituency_MP = Manchester Withington
term_start = 5 May2005
term_end =
parliament =
majority = 667 (1.8%)
predecessor = Keith Bradley
successor =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1971|4|11|df=y
birth_place = Wakefield
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = Brunel University
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

John Leech (born 11 April 1971, [cite web | title=John Leech | work=BBC|url=| accessdate = 2007-10-02] Wakefield, Yorkshire) is a British politician and the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Manchester Withington. He is a member of the Transport Select Committee and was appointed a Shadow Transport Spokesperson in 2006.


Leech went to the independent Manchester Grammar School, Loreto College (Moss Side) and Brunel University where he studied History and Politics and also where he joined the Liberal Democrats. He received an Upper-Second Class Honours degree upon graduating. After leaving university he worked as a trainee manager for McDonalds and part time at the RAC in Stockport as a call centre insurance claims handler.

Political career

In 1998 Leech was elected to Manchester City Council, as a Councillor for Barlow Moor and later for Chorlton Park following boundary changes to the ward. He was Deputy Leader of the council's Opposition Group, acting as a spokesperson for Planning and the Environment. [cite web | title=Who's Who - John Leech MP | work=Liberal Democrats|url=| accessdate = 2008-09-11]

Leech was elected at the 2005 general election, unexpectedly defeating Keith Bradley, the incumbent Labour Party MP, by a swing of over 17%. Leech became the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat to win a Manchester seat since 1929. Leech continued to represent Chorlton Park as a councillor in addition to duties as Member of Parliament until he stood down at local elections in May 2008. [cite news | last=Thislethwaite | first=Laura | title=Leech to give up his council seat | work=South Manchester Reporter | publisher=MEN Group | date=2008-02-21 | url=

2005 Election Campaign

During John Leech's 2005 General Election campaign he mounted a 'Save Christie Hospital' campaign, focusing on concern at the possible movement of cancer services away from one of Europe's largest cancer treatment centres. Labour Party supporters alleged that these concerns were unfounded and that there was never any risk to the hospital.

In April 2005, the Manchester Evening News reported that sixty doctors had signed a petition calling on the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority not to move services away from Christie as part of a review of services. [cite news
last = Camber
first = Rebecca
title = Christie fury at shake-up talks
language = English
publisher = Manchester Evening News
date = 2005-04-15
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-16
] The doctors cited concerns that a dislocation of services from the Christie Hospital could jeopardise patient outcomes and their campaign was supported by both the University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK. [cite news
last = Camber
first = Rebecca
title = Support for docs in Christie storm
language = English
publisher = Manchester Evening News
date = 2005-04-16
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-16

The campaign was taken up by Leech as well as the Conservative Party Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley. However, health executives reacted angrily to what they perceived as scaremongering on the part of both the Liberal Democrats and the consultants who signed the petition. The Chief Executives of the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority and the South Manchester Primary Care Trust both denied the rumours.

The debate between Labour and Liberal Democrat party members about the validity of Leech's claims has continued since the election. Leech took a petition of 1,500 residents to the Strategic Health Authority over the threat while Labour supporters organised a separate petition of local residents to request an explanation from Leech over his conduct. [cite web | title=MP Ambushed by red card petition over cancer wards | work=South Manchester Reporter|url=| accessdate = 2006-08-08]

In 2006 Lib Dem Cllr Angela Gallagher defected to the Labour Party citing his Christie Hospital campaign as a major factor in her decision. Gallagher had donated over £22,000 to John Leech's General Election campaign fund. [cite web | title=Lib Dem quit over MP's Christie closure claim | work=South Manchester Reporter|url=| accessdate = 2006-08-08] Gallagher subsequently lost her seat in the [ 2007 Manchester local elections] by 42 votes to Liberal Democrat Paul Ankers.

Parliamentary Issues

Leech has specialised in a number of areas during his time in Parliament:

*Cancer services - He was made North-West Lung Cancer Champion by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition. [ [ Parliamentary Activity] - "United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition"]
*Road safety - Leech was made Parliamentarian of the Month for December 2006 and Parliamentarian of the Year for 2008 by the road safety charity Brake. [ [ Parliamentarian Awards] - "Brake" ] [ [ Parliamentarian of the year 2008] - "Brake"]
*Light Rail - He is a founding member of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group [ [ John Leech MP Founds Parliamentary Group on Light Rail] - "Manchester Liberal Democrats" 2006-04-05] .

Political Offices

Personal life

Leech currently lives in Whalley Range with his long term partner Catherine. He is an amateur dramatics enthusiast (Manchester Road Players) and his father is a Methodist minister. Leech is also a football supporter, and season-ticket holder, following Manchester City F.C. and an enthusiastic member of the Parliamentary Football team.


External links

* [ John Leech MP official website]
* [ John Leech MP] profile on the site of Liberal Democrats
* [,9290,-9019,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: John Leech MP]
* [ They Work For You - John Leech MP]
* [ Early Day Motions Signed by John]
* [ The Public Whip - John Leech] voting record
* [ BBC Politics]

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