Christopher John Bryant (born 11 January 1962) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rhondda since the 2001 general election and most recently the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons until resigning on 26 June 2016. He was previously the Shadow Minister for the Arts, Minister of State for Europe, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He was re-elected in June 2017.
After leaving the priesthood in 1991, Bryant made a radical career move and began work as the election agent to the Holborn and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party, where he helped Frank Dobson hold his seat in the 1992 general election. From 1993 he was Local Government officer for the Labour Party; he lived in Hackney and was elected to Hackney Borough Council in 1993, serving until 1998. He became Chairman of the Christian Socialist Movement. He is also a member of the Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East group. From 1994 to 1996 he was London manager of the charity Common Purpose.
He was Labour candidate for Wycombe in the 1997 general election (where he lost by 2,370 votes), and Head of European Affairs for the BBC from 1998. His selection for the very safe Labour seat of Rhondda in South Wales in 2000 surprised many people given Bryant's background – gay, a former Anglican vicar, and someone who had been a Conservative as a student. He says of his surprise selection "I fell off the chair, and my opponents certainly did". Fifty-two people applied for the candidature and a local councillor was hot favourite to win. He retained the seat comfortably at the 2001 general election with a 16,047 majority, one of the largest in the country.
In 2003, Bryant voted with the government in joining the Iraq War with an invasion.
From 2004 until 2007, Bryant was chairman of the Labour Movement for Europe, succeeded by Mary Creagh MP. Bryant is a signatory of the Henry Jackson Society principles.
Bryant was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs Charlie Falconer. In Gordon Brown's autumn 2008 reshuffle, Bryant was promoted from his role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Harriet Harman to the ministerial position of Deputy Leader of the House of Commons otherwise known as Parliamentary Secretary to the House of Commons. This was followed by another move in the June 2009 reshuffle, when he moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. On 13 October 2009, he was also appointed Minister for Europe.
Following the defeat of the Labour government at the General Election of 2010, Bryant returned to the back benches. He stood as one of 49 candidates for election to the 19 places in the Shadow Cabinet in the internal Labour Party poll of October 2010. He polled 77 votes, reaching 29th position on the list. He has held various opposition portfolios since 2010, most notably Shadow Leader of the House of Commons under Jeremy Corbyn.