Sir Richard Charles Leese, CBE (born 21 April 1951) is an English politician in Manchester, England. He has been the leader of Manchester City Council since 1996 and a member of the Labour Party since 1984. On 6 May 2017, Leese was appointed Deputy Mayor for Business and Economy by Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mayor, and former Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham.
Sir Richard Leese
Richard Leese talking at the University of Salford in 2012.
|Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Business and Economy|
|Assumed office |
8 May 2017
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Leader of Manchester City Council|
|Assumed office |
20 May 1996
|Preceded by||Graham Stringer|
|Member of Manchester City Council for Crumpsall|
|Assumed office |
3 May 1984
|Preceded by||Frederick Lever|
Richard Charles Leese
21 April 1951
|Alma mater||University of Warwick|
Initially, Leese worked as a teacher of mathematics at Sidney Stringer School in Coventry and as an exchange teacher at Washington Junior High School in Duluth, Minnesota, USA before moving to Manchester to take up a post as a youth worker. Leese has been employed variously in youth work, community work, and education research 1979–1988.
Leese was elected to the Manchester City Council in 1984 and was its deputy leader from 1990 until 1996, having previously chaired the Education Committee (1986–1990) and Finance Committee (1990–1995). As of 2011 he is a Labour councillor in the Crumpsall ward.
He was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2006 List after overseeing the 10-year regeneration of the city after the IRA bomb of 1996. He was awarded a Knighthood for "services to local government".
Leese was one of the main advocates of Congestion Charging in Greater Manchester, as part of a bid to the Government's Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) for a £2.7 billion package of transport funding for Greater Manchester. Congestion charging was ultimately rejected by the local population in a referendum.
He is current chair of the North West Regional Leaders Board (4NW).
On 14 April 2010 the BBC reported that Leese had stood down temporarily from his post as leader of Manchester City Council after having been arrested on suspicion of the common assault of his 16-year-old stepdaughter. He was released after accepting a police caution and admitting striking his stepdaughter across the face.
On 2 October 2019, during a full council meeting, Liberal Democrat opposition councillor Richard Kilpatrick was questioning council leader Richard Leese on the council's preparations for schools and hospitals in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In his first response to the questioning, Leese said that the Liberal Democrats were deliberately trying to stop Brexit, referencing their new 'Revoke and Remain' policy. This prompted Kilpatrick's followup question to admit this was the case and said Leese should "bite the bullet and vote Lib Dem at the next election". Leese responded: “I’d need a bullet in the brain to do that! Come on!” Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP told Politics Home he thought the comments were “unhelpful and divisive."
- "'LEESE, Sir Richard Charles', Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012".(subscription required)
- "Core Cities Summit". Core Cities. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- on YouTube
- "Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham launches leadership team". rochdaleonline.co.uk.
- "Councillor Richard Leese". Manchester City Council.
- "Knighthood for leader who saw city reborn". Manchester Evening News. 17 June 2006.
- "Voters reject congestion charge". BBC News. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Salter, Alan (5 May 2007). "C-charge details revealed". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
- Staff and agencies (27 July 2007). "Manchester makes move towards congestion charge". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
- "Manchester City Council leader steps down after assault". BBC News. 14 April 2010.
- Carter, Helen (14 April 2010). "Manchester council leader Richard Leese cautioned over stepdaughter assault". The Guardian. London.
| Leader of Manchester City Council