Leeds Parliamentary Election Results
1857 - 28th March
M. T. Baines (Liberal) 2,329
R. Hall (Conservative) 2,237 *
J. R. Mills (Liberal) 2,143
[ * Died 1857. ]
Aberdeen was forced to resign in 1855 over the his mishandling of the Crimean War and Palmerston became Premier. Having lost a vote no confidence over the Arrow Affair, which ultimately led to the Opium War with China, Palmerston went to the country. He was successful in that there was a significant swing to the Liberals. They secured 377 seats to the Conservatives 264. In Leeds there appears to have been little interest shown towards the dispute with China and the honours were divided between the parties with many voters splitting their two votes between Baines and Hall.
The election campaign was marred by an unfortunate incident on Woodhouse Moor when the Liberal hustings collapsed as a result of recent heavy rains and snow softening the ground. Several people were injured but none fatally. Most of them were Liberal supporters. The Leeds Mercury argued that losing some of their supporters may well have led to Mills, the other Liberal candidate, losing out. The Leeds Intelligencer delighted that Mills, the candidate that supported voluntaryism, Dissent, the secret ballot, and reform in general had been defeated.