Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1886 - 2nd July

G. W. Balfour (Conservative) 4,225
J. Kitson (Gladstonian Liberal) 4,212


J. L. Gane (Gladstonian Liberal) 3,930
R. Dawson (Conservative) 2,820

W. L. Jackson (Conservative) 4,301
A. Rutson (Gladstonian Liberal) 3,682

Sir L. Playfair (Gladstonian Liberal) 4,665
T. H. Bracken (Conservative) 2,924

H. J. Gladstone (Gladstonian Liberal) 5,226
W. Williams (Conservative) 2,970


Gladstone now supported Home Rule but in doing so split his party between Gladstonian Liberals and Joseph Chamberlain’s Liberal Unionists, a group which formed an alliance with the Conservatives. Consequently the result of the election saw Lord Salisbury’s Conservatives and Chamberlain’s Liberal Unionists win a substantial victory securing 394 seats, compared with the Gladstonian Liberals 191.

In Leeds, the election was held under a clear sky and a scorching sun. With Parnell now supporting the Liberals, the Irish in Leeds East turned the tables and returned Gane as their MP. Dawson, although an Irishman himself, objected to Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill and was accused of being a ‘traitor to the land that gave him birth’. In Leeds Central, Balfour retained his seat for the Conservatives by just 13 votes. Here the Liberals had had great hopes of victory. The Liberal Leeds Mercury was bitter about Kitson’s defeat wringing its hands that ‘the majority of the Central Division has rejected the appeal of the Irish people, and decided in favour of the government of Ireland by force.’