Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1876 - 15th August - by-election

J. Barran (Liberal) 16,672
W. L. Jackson (Conservative) 13,774

Carter resigned his seat claiming pressure of business commitments. It was a short by-election campaign with polling day coming only a fortnight after the vacancy was published. Barran, the ready-made clothing magnate, was chosen as the Liberal candidate over Edward Baines with the Leeds Liberals preferring Barran’s more radical views regarding the Church and voluntary education. The Conservatives chose William Lawies Jackson, a man who had taken the family’s near bankrupt business and turned it into the largest tanning business in the country. The two major issues dividing the parties were the disestablishment of the Church of England and the Permissive Bill which sought ‘removal of public temptation to drinking’. Jackson was bitterly opposed to both.

At one public meeting he was asked why should working men vote for him when he had never advocated any measures to benefit the working man. Barran meanwhile was accused of wanting children taught, according the Yorkshire Post, ‘a cold, a barren, and a godless secularism’. The Conservatives also made great play over Barran’s purchase of Roundhay Park when mayor. They claimed it to be a white elephant. But Barran found many of his supporters among the Irishmen of the Leeds Home Rule Association and from numerous Jewish electors.