Leeds Parliamentary Election Results
1847 - 29th July
W. Beckett (Conservative) 2,529
J. G. Marshall (Liberal) 2,172
J. Sturge (Chartist) 1,978
Lord Stanley and the Conservatives, despite winning 325 seats to the Liberals 292 and the Irish MPs 36, were unable to form a government. Following the repeal of the Corn Laws, the Conservatives were split between Stanley’s supporters, who endorsed Protection, and Sir Robert Peel’s Peelites who supported Free Trade. The rupture enabled Lord John Russell and the Liberals to remain in power. In Leeds the Liberals were split over voluntaryism in education and bitterly resented Sturge standing, claiming he would split the Radical vote and possibly prevent the election of James Garth Marshall, son of the linen manufacturer and one of the founders of the Leeds Parliamentary Reform Association. Joseph Sturge, the Chartist candidate, claimed he had had the two wealthiest families in Leeds opposed to him. His supporters argued that he had been defeated by the most ‘shameful acts ever to disgrace the annals of this country’. He was the only Chartist to stand in a Leeds Parliamentary election. During the election Leeds was suffering from a severe epidemic of typhus fever.