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
MayorAndy Burnham
Preceded byPosition established
Leader of Manchester City Council
Assumed office
20 May 1996
Preceded byGraham Stringer
Member of Manchester City Council for Crumpsall
Assumed office
3 May 1984
Preceded byFrederick Lever
Personal details
Richard Charles Leese

(1951-04-21) 21 April 1951 (age 70)[1]
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Political partyLabour
  • Michal Evans (1982–2000)[1]
  • Joanne Green (2003–present)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
OccupationLabour councillor

Sir Richard Charles Leese, CBE (born 21 April 1951[1][2]) is a British politician serving as the leader of Manchester City Council since 1996. He has been a member of the Labour Party since 1984.[1][3] On 6 May 2017, Leese was appointed Deputy Mayor for Business and Economy by Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mayor, and former Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.[4]


Leese was born and brought up in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He was educated at The Brunts School and went on to the University of Warwick, graduating with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics.[1]


Initially, Leese worked as a teacher of mathematics at Sidney Stringer School in Coventry[1] 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.[5]

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".[6]

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.[7][8][9]

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.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "'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)
  2. ^ "Core Cities Summit". Core Cities. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  3. ^ Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council explains why HS2 is good for Manchester on YouTube
  4. ^ "Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham launches leadership team".
  5. ^ "Councillor Richard Leese". Manchester City Council.
  6. ^ "Knighthood for leader who saw city reborn". Manchester Evening News. 17 June 2006.
  7. ^ "Voters reject congestion charge". BBC News. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  8. ^ Salter, Alan (5 May 2007). "C-charge details revealed". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
  9. ^ Staff and agencies (27 July 2007). "Manchester makes move towards congestion charge". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Manchester City Council leader steps down after assault". BBC News. 14 April 2010.
  11. ^ Carter, Helen (14 April 2010). "Manchester council leader Richard Leese cautioned over stepdaughter assault". The Guardian. London.
Political offices
Preceded by
Graham Stringer
Leader of Manchester City Council