John Leech entered Parliament at the first attempt in 2005 when he was elected to represent Manchester Withington constituency, defeating the previous Labour incumbent with a swing of over 17%. This was the biggest winning swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats in the UK.
From his election John served on the Transport Select Committee and a Lib Dem Transport Spokesman until 2012.
John then became a member of the influential Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman for these areas.
Prior to becoming an MP, John worked for both McDonalds as a trainee manager and the RAC and served for ten years as a member of Manchester City Council where he was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group and group spokesperson on Planning and the Environment. Alongside transport, planning remains one of John’s primary areas of interest.
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. He has also been working for improved cancer services in south Manchester in his capacity as a ‘parliamentary champion’ of the UK Lung Cancer Coalition. Locally, he has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the closure of local post offices, in the fight to save local special needs schools from closure and promoting jobs and apprentiships in Manchester.
In the wake of the Icelandic banking collapse in 2009, John presented a 100,000 signature-strong petition to Parliament. The petition, organised by the Manchester Evening News, called for a return of the £6.5m that Manchester cancer hospital, The Christie, had lost in the financial collapse. Thanks to the petition and the subsequent delegation’s visit to Downing Street, in which John took part, the government’s hand was forced and the money was recouped.
A keen sportsman, John is a member of the parliamentary football team and has been a Manchester City season ticket holder for over 20 years. He is also an amateur dramatics enthusiast.