Lesley was elected as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in June 2017 and was soon after appointed Shadow Secretary of Scotland. In June 2018 she became Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
Born and brought up in Greenock in a traditional Labour household, Lesley’s father was a trade union official who became chairman of the STUC in 1984 at the time of the miners’ strike.
She went on to study at James Watt College, Caledonian University & Napier University and later worked in the electronic, semiconductor and financial service industries in a variety of senior human resources roles in ‘Silicon Glen,’ before becoming a senior talent manager for RBS.
In 2011 Lesley decided to become more actively involved in politics and was one of only three Scots to be selected for UK Labour’s national talent programme.
She stood for the Fife Council elections in 2012, was appointed Spokesperson for Economy & Planning in February 2013 and became deputy leader of Fife Council in 2014.
She built up a reputation as a ‘campaigning councillor’ who brought a wealth of knowledge and practical real-life experience to her role and, as an MP, continues to put it to good use for her constituents and the people of Fife.
Lesley was previously a Board member of the Fife Economy Partnership, Business Gateway, Fife Coast & Countryside Trust and a Trustee of the Muir Dean Trust. She was also Chair of TAYplan and was Vice-Chair of SESplan planning committee. Lesley also attended COSLA and was a member of the East of Scotland Advisory Board.
Lesley was also previously Chair of the Council’s Corporate Parenting Board and maintains a strong interest in this area.
Lesley is a member of the trade union, Unison.
Outside of ‘work’, Lesley enjoys sports, especially football and athletics – and long walks with the family dog, Pip!