'Yes, Minister' – New Labour proposal wins over MP's girlfriend

Brendan Carlin Political Editor New Labour rising star and Government Minister Chris Leslie is to marry, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

The Shipley MP last week proposed to girlfriend Nicola Murphy and then whisked her off to New York for the weekend to celebrate.

The wedding will be an all-New Labour affair as Miss Murphy, 32, works as one of Chancellor Gordon Brown's special advisers. She only recently failed to land the nomination as Labour parliamentary candidate in Wakefield.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Mr Leslie, 31, yesterday told the Yorkshire Post that he formally proposed last week in a restaurant in London.

"I did the deed on Wednesday. I went down on my knees with a ring and all that," the MP said.

"I'm very pleased," he added.

And then, proposal safely accepted, he took his fiancee off for a whirlwind trip to the US.

"I swooped her off to New York for the weekend," said Mr Leslie who gallantly declined to admit how much the trip had cost.

"It was worth every penny," he said.

The Shipley MP said that even though the news had not yet leaked out publicly, congratulations had come in.

"People have been very nice. We've had lots of good wishes," Mr Leslie said, adding that he and Miss Murphy, whose brother Darren works in Number 10, had been together for the last two years.

Possibly mindful of the General Election expected in May next year, Mr Leslie said that no date had yet been set for the wedding.

And by that stage, the MP will have his work cut out to hold his Shipley seat where he defends a wafer-thin majority of just over 1,400.