Leeds Parliamentary Election Results

Reform Bill of 1832 – Leeds granted two seats

1832 - 12, 13 December

T. B. Macaulay (Whig) 2,012 *
J. Marshall Jr, (Whig) 1,984
M.T. Sadler (Tory) 1,596
[* Resigned 1833.]

The election was called subsequent to the passing of the Reform Bill. This was a significant victory for the Whigs under Lord Grey, winning 441seats to the Tories 175. They were supported by the Radicals and other politicians. The campaign in Leeds involved the Tory Michael Sadler supporting Richard Oastler’s crusade for Factory Reform and an alliance being established between the Tories and the Radicals in the town. The nomination meeting in the Coloured Cloth Hall yard was marred by violence in what became known as the infamous Battle of the Standard. Several people were seriously injured until the mayor instructed a force of special constables to act as a human barrier between the two opposing groups.

Several other acts of violence on the streets were recorded with the Whig Leeds Mercury publicising those injured by the ‘blue-bludgeon men’. The radical Leeds Patriot claimed that ‘the vilest miscreants on earth had been hired by the Orange party to bully and bludgeon every man who differed from them’ whilst the Tory Leeds Intelligencer accused Macaulay of being bribed by the Government. Whilst the victorious candidates dined in the Commercial Buildings, a mob of 10,000 outside burnt effigies of Marshall and Macaulay.