Senior Lab members incl council leader sign letter to centrist Leslie: you’ve ‘crossed a line…consider your position’

Chris Leslie

A large number of Nottingham East Labour members, among them senior elected figures including the council leader, have signed an open letter telling centrist MP Chris Leslie to ‘consider [his] position’.

The letter, signed by over eighty members in just a few days, criticises Leslie for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and choosing to attack the party’s leadership instead of focusing on achieving the Labour government so desperately needed by suffering millions in this country.

Given the above, we feel we have to restate the importance of your duties as a Labour MP

The open letter to Chris Leslie

It goes on to point out Leslie’s “lack of presence” in the constituency, his “poor track record” of campaigning and his lack of engagement with local constituents, before stating that the signatories feel he needs reminding of his duties as a Labour MP:

Dear Chris

We write to express our disappointment with your recent email to constituents and comments to news outlets and on social media. We believe they were likely to damage the reputation and electoral prospects of our party.

The Labour Party has always been a broad church and we hope that it will continue to be so. However, we as party members expect our elected representatives to have an unfailing commitment to getting Labour into government so we can put our values into practice. We are writing to remind you again that this is our minimum expectation of you in your role as our Labour MP.

When Tory cuts have left our NHS so underfunded that patients are dying whilst they wait and millions of working families struggle to make ends meet, we need our elected representatives to use the platform the party has given them to promote our Labour values and our commitment to rebuilding Britain. Central government funding for the essential council services our citizens rely on in Nottingham has been slashed from £127m in 2013 to £25m for 2019/20. At the same time, we’ve seen homelessness and rough sleeping rocket as a direct result of Tory policies. We need you to speak for us and help promote Labour values to best represent the people of Nottingham East.

Sadly, we believe that the views expressed in your most recent email to constituents are likely to damage the reputation and electoral prospects of our party and give the impression that you are doubtful that a Labour government would be the best outcome for Britain. This email crossed a line and we believe it is unacceptable for a sitting Labour MP to attack the party in this manner.

As members we hold a variety of views on Brexit, on economic and foreign policy and we may have voted in different ways in the referendum and leadership elections. We are, though, united in our belief that Britain desperately needs a Labour government. We also firmly believe that your email, and some recent comments, make it appear that you are happy to attack the party leadership, other Labour MPs and party members; giving the impression that our party is divided as we approach the local council elections in May and a possible general election.

In June 2017, over 600 Nottingham East members signed our open letter asking you to ‘work with us to consolidate the united campaigning force that we have built in this election campaign. Your constituents desperately need you to help build that unity to prepare for the next election and a Labour victory.’ You have not done this.

We believe that the support you give constituents and party members in Nottingham East is well below that of other local Labour MPs. We note that you appear to have held a surgery in a local Sainsbury’s where little or no notice was given to constituents or members. Whilst this is some improvement over your long term reluctance to hold any surgery at all, it is not good enough. We also note that at that surgery your personal branding removed any reference to the Labour Party. We believe that you should hold regular surgeries for constituents that are advertised and you should make yourself available for them. Listening to and advocating on behalf of residents is an important part of your role in representing Nottingham East.

We also believe that your lack of presence in the constituency, and your poor track record of campaigning for the party in Nottingham, is in sharp contrast to other local MPs who campaign hard for the party and work with Labour councillors to improve the life of our residents. Members and residents are much more likely to have seen you attacking the party and its leadership than representing the views of local residents.

Given the above, we feel we have to restate the importance of your duties as a Labour MP and the need to conduct yourself in a manner befitting your role. We therefore demand that you:

– Advocate and work tirelessly for a Labour government and stop making divisive and damaging comments through email, social media, in person and publicly;
– Respond to residents’ concerns and hold regular open surgeries that are advertised widely using Labour branding;
– Begin to organise and attend regular campaign sessions alongside councillors and in our neighbouring marginals;
– Be in the constituency regularly and attend community events;
– Contribute to local newsletters, events and activities to promote our party and encourage and enable others to do so.

As Labour members in Nottingham East, we ask you to carefully consider your position as our MP and to make the improvements and commitments outlined above which we believe you need to address to be an effective MP for Nottingham East.

Yours sincerely

The open letter from Nottingham East Labour members to Chris Leslie

The letter is signed by the most senior officers of Nottingham East Labour Party, as well as by the leader of the council, several councillors and council candidates. Those highlighted in bold below are councillors or local election candidates. The third name in each line is that of the member’s branch:

Adele Williams Nottingham East CLP Secretary and Sherwood Councillor
Louise Regan Nottingham East CLP Chair
Nick Raine Sherwood Nottingham East Vice Chair Membership
Tom Coogan Dales
Tom Unterrainer Berridge
Gareth Hardwick Sherwood
Matthew Newnham Sherwood
Abbey Rees-Hales Sherwood
Jonathon Spittlehouse Sherwood
Lauren O’Grady Sherwood
Chris Summerlin Sherwood
Hassan Ahmed Sherwood
Sean Conway Berridge
Sally Morawetz Sherwood
Frank McMahon Mapperley
Zahid Chaudhary St Anns
Tina Yemm Sherwood
Neil Johnson Sherwood
Zenn Athar-James Berridge
Ross Bradshaw Sherwood
Nick Lucas Dales
Alice Coady Mapperley
Mat Anderson St Anns
Angie Mindel Sherwood
Steve Jansky Mapperley
Ivan Wels Sherwood
Oliver Charleston Berridge
Rosamund Evans Sherwood
Antonia Murphy Sherwood
Toby Neal Berridge
Safiya O’Donnell Mapperley
Matt Southall Mapperley
Dawn Pritchard Sherwood
Ankunda Matsiko Berridge
Paul Wilkinson Sherwood
Tom Robbins Berridge
Nick Butcher Sherwood
Christina Jansky Mapperley
Ann-Marie Saward Mapperley
Matt Langthorne Mapperley
Liam Maloy Sherwood
Scotty Clark Sherwood
Stacey Mcmullen Arboretum
Jérémie Cauchois Sherwood
Matthew Bean Berridge
Emma Whatson Sherwood
Gareth Morgan Berridge
Kate McNamara Berridge
Ben Taylor Mapperley
Garry Pride Berridge
Irene Murray Arboretum
Matt Burrows Berridge
Davinia Jackson Berridge
Clive Healiss Berridge
Joe Pick Berridge
Mazher Hussain Berridge
Stewart Halforty Dales
Peter Loewenstein Sherwood
Manya Benenson Berridge
Stacey McMullen Arboretum
Rhonda Wattleyv Mapperley
Meg Bowden St Anns
Matt Blick Arboretum
Ishtiaq Haq Sherwood
Geraint Thomas Sherwood
Andy Nash Berridge
Paul Wentworth Dales
Philip Sambell Berridge
Alexander Grayston Berridge
Fiona Gilchrist Berridge
Robert Taylor Berridge
Alan Barker Mapperley
Linda Sullivan Mapperley
Kathryn Butler Sherwood
Stella Nickolay Sherwood
Emily Braham Berridge
Jeremy Hepburn Sherwood
Pavlos Kotsonis Mapperley
Jon Collins St Anns

Julian Phillips Sherwood
Jane Crich Berridge
Salma Mumtaz Dales

Council leader Jon Collins, who signed the letter in a personal capacity, told the SKWAWKBOX:

I signed it because there’s nothing in the letter I disagree with. I don’t do personality politics but my primary concern is getting a Labour government and ensuring my constituents get what they need from the MP who represents them. I think the letter is a fair reflection of what they need both locally and in Parliament.

Jon Collins

Chris Leslie was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Chris Leslie has long been a man out of place in the Labour Party. For the good of his constituents and of the country as a whole, he needs to remember which party he’s supposed to be representing.

If he’s unable to do so, he should make way for someone who can.

Leslie has already suffered a vote of no confidence by local members. No smart money will be placed on him getting the message of this letter, but it shows the urgency Nottingham East members feel about the issue.

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  1. Good.

    Note the following : “The Labour Party has always been a broad church and we hope that it will continue to be so. However, we as party members expect our elected representatives to have an unfailing commitment to getting Labour into government ”

    The only issue I’d have is the use of the useless term ‘Centrist’ to describe Lesley. He’s of the right.

  2. I hope they’ve sent a copy to the NEC. I hope his colleagues in the PLP come out and publicly admonish him. Not holding my breath though!

  3. We will lose those seats where RW MPs holding Labour them are campaigning in effect, for the Tories/LibDems. I hope other CLPs & Councillors will do similar in those other Labour (at the moment) seats.

  4. That’s a brilliant and poweful letter which could perhaps (for information) be forwarded to the PLP?
    How many working people must suffer before some turn their well paid fire on the Tory Barbarians?
    Perhaps as the song goes: “Now leave, go out that door, you’re not welcome anymore.
    We will survive!”

  5. Leslie is actually snubbing his constituency party, we have too many MPs in the party who are full of their own importance, It is obviously up to Nottingham east CLP what they do next but it doesn’t auger well for him. Look I do think MPs should be given their head but only up to a point, Labour members can only accept so much betrayal and reselection in this case looks on the cards

    1. It is obviously up to Nottingham east CLP what they do next but it doesn’t auger well for him.

      Perhaps that would have been the case if OMOV Auto-Reselection hadn’t been blocked by the unions. Unfortunately it appears there is very little anyone can do until the NEC give his CLP permission to start the deselection procedures.

      1. I think it is for Notts east to organise their Wards and union branches to signal a reselection ballot, if that is successful it goes to a full CLP OMOV ballot of the sitting member and other candidates, if Steve (Skawkbox) could verify that as it is my understanding (I have been wrong before) 🙂

      2. But darling Kier was so supportive of auto re-selection wasn’t he Stevie boy,unlike those dastardly unions.

      3. John Thatcher – Should I feel honoured that you’ve trawled back 3 months to find this comment of mine to reply to? I’m guessing you must be trying to make an important point because otherwise why would you be bothering but I’m currently struggling to see what it is. I’ll ponder on it and get back to you if it springs to mind. In the meantime please feel free to expand on your above comment if you feel the need to.

  6. This appropriate response to those who are intent on damaging the Labour Party needed to happen long ago.

    As I was reading through the article, other names came to mind, such as Joan Ryan, Luciana Berger, Yvette Cooper and so many others.

    These are people, who instead of using their position to protect the vulnerable who are suffering from Tory austerity, are using their voice and privilege to attack their own party, their own leader and ultimately the millions who desperately need a Labour government.

    For many it is literally a matter of life and death. (120,000 have already tragically died.) Another Tory government would be disastrous. It is unthinkable, but that is precisely what will happen if these Blairite traitors are allowed to behave as they’re doing. I hope others such as Kier Starmer and Angela Rayner will continue to support Jeremy Corbyn.

  7. Notts. E. CLP should be petitioning the NEC for leslie’s expulsion, not reminding him of where he’s going wrong. And he’s already lost a no confidence motion…Just get him binned fcfs.

    And to think, the talentless dullard was once considered to be effective enough to be made shadow chancellor…No wonder the party got absolutely trounced in 2010 & 15.

    He even lost his shipley seat to the utterly odious and equally talentless philip davies…That’s a measure of how utterly garbage the….whatever, is. Why – in God’s name – was he ever re-elected after that?

    1. A usual you’re on point. How did any of them get selected? How do they have so many friends in the media? These people are truly wretched yet possess the vanity of t.v celebrities. Regards

  8. In 2017, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Leslie increased his majority from just under twelve thousand to almost twenty thousand, and then a couple of days later – like the good little Blairite Tory he is – he went on the BBC and fraudulently criticised JC for “missing open goals”, and implying that Labour would have done better under a different leader. He was rebuked in an email letter THEN by about six hundred Nottingham East Labour members, and yet STILL he’s at it. These people – and we ALL know who they are – are constantly undermining JC and Labour’s chances of winning a GE, and it cannot be allowed to continue.

    Anyway, for anyone who may have missed the previous links to Tony Greenstein’s article, and who would like to contribute a few quid to help him in his legal battle against the vile and abominable so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, here it is again (there’s a link to his gofundme page at the end of the article):



  9. Good. About time. Mann next? Or Umunna? Or Hoey? Or Berger? Or Nandy? The list is extensive.

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