Leader of the Opposition and Councillor for Didsbury West
John Leech has an unrivalled record of delivering for local people. He has been serving people in Manchester for more than 25 years, first as a councillor elected in 1998 and then as the Member of Parliament for Manchester Withington from 2005-15. In 2016, he was re-elected as a councillor for Didsbury West and now stands as Leader of the Opposition on Manchester Council.
Prior to public service, John worked for McDonald's as a trainee manager and the RAC. A keen sportsman, John was also a member of the parliamentary football team and has been a Manchester City season ticket holder for over 30 years. He is an amateur dramatics enthusiast and frequently volunteers in local theatre groups.
Here you can find an overview of John's record on key issues.
The Liberal Democrats are the only completely pro-European party. John Leech campaigned to remain during the 2016 EU referendum and actively supports a People's Vote on the Brexit deal, with remain on the ballot paper.
Few people have taken greater strides forward for equality than John Leech, who is described as the "architect" of Alan Turing's successful pardon, leading a seven-year campaign to pardon the war hero. At the UK premiere of a film based on Turing's life, The Imitation Game, the film producers thanked Leech for bringing the topic to public attention and securing Turing's pardon. His campaign then turned to acquiring pardons for the 75,000 other men convicted of the same crime. Leech said it was "utterly disgusting and ultimately just embarrassing" that the conviction was upheld as long as it was, and celebrated the posthumous pardon.
John became the first MP to call for homophobic chanting at football matches to become a criminal offence, he helped design the historic equal marriage bill and campaigned to end the gay blood ban.
John is a passionate campaigner for improved road safety and has led calls for the default speed limit on local roads to be reduced from 30mph to 20mph. For his work in this field he was named ‘Parliamentarian of the Year for Road Safety’ by road safety charity Brake in 2008. John was also awarded the first ever 'MP of the Year'in 2013 for his work in Parliament and his constituency with disadvantaged and minority groups.
In 2016, he launched a campaign to stamp out homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying in Manchester's schools after he conducted a report that uncovered a shocking rise.
John continues to campaign for better transport and improved road safety for children. He pushed the Government to implement several policies which help enable children to commute to and from school safely, and thanks to this work, a debate on whether 20mph should be the default urban speed limit was held.
Most recently he successfully persuaded Manchester Council to reduce the speed limit on some of the city’s most dangerous roads - namely Princess Road which saw two pedestrians die in the space of a year. He was awarded Brake's ‘Parliamentarian of the Year
award’ recognising his commendable efforts to improve road safety.
Housing and Homelessness:
John has been responsible for uncovering some of the most shocking practices in relation to housing and homelessness in Manchester. In 2016 he accused the Labour group of playing political football with the lives of Manchester's homeless after they increased town hall bosses' salaries by 60% in the same month they claimed to have no money for tackling the homelessness crisis. He revealed that the council had spent £60,000 buying homeless people one-way tickets to leave the city, had effectively evicted and sued homeless people who had pitched tents in the city and had refused to build a single affordable home in the city centre for over a decade.
John demanded that the council not allow any development duck its 20% affordable home quota, which happens regluarly, and invest money into tackling the homeless crisis.
John was the first MP to lead the campaign for safe standing at football matches. Standing had been banned in English football's top two divisions following the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. Leech told the Commons that clubs should be allowed to install 'rail-seating' allowing supporters to stand with the option of sitting down following the lead of countries including Germany, Austria and Sweden that operate safe standing.