Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1841 - 8th, 9th July

W. Beckett (Conservative) 2,076
W. Aldam Jr (Liberal) 2,043
J. Hume (Liberal) 2,033
R. Jocelyn (Conservative) 1,926

The election was called by Lord Melbourne when the Liberals suffered defeat on a vote of no confidence. Sir Robert Peel led the Conservatives to a significant 66 seat overall majority with 50.9% of the vote winning 367 seats to the Liberals 271. Peel had distanced himself from ultra-Toryism and through his Tamworth Manifesto offered a new Conservative vision of politics. In Leeds the Liberals again formed a coalition, this time between Joseph Hume, a Radical with a penchant for budget scrutiny, and William Aldam Jr, a businessman-squire from Leeds. The town was equally divided between the two parties, each winning one seat. The Chartist Northern Star bemoaned the fact that ‘the people are excluded’ and saw the alliance of the Radical Hume and the businessman Aldam as no more than a ‘Fox and Goose Club’. Aldam, when elected, admitted the ballot should be extended ‘when the people were sufficiently enlightened to enable them to exercise it’. The Tory Leeds Intelligencer heralded the ‘Conservative Triumph’, whilst the Radical Leeds Times published a list of the ‘Tory Shopocracy of Briggate’, to show ‘how many men in one street have not come to their senses’. Peel resigned in 1846 and Lord John Russell, of the Liberals, formed a government.