Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1929 - 1 August by-election

South East
Maj. J. Milner (Labour) 11,804
W. T. E. Brain (Communist) 512

The by-election came about when Sir Henry Slesser was appointed to the Appeals Court. In Leeds the other parties took the pragmatic view that it was pointless to contest Leeds South East, a safe Labour seat with a majority of 15,018. Major Milner , the Labour candidate, was a local solicitor and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds. The Communists, however decided to enter W. Brain, a Newcastle iron moulder, to contest the seat. Whereas Milner argued that the Government had to deal with national and international problems by constitutional and democratic means, Brain argued that the Labour Government was ‘the most dangerous enemy of the working class because it is a disguised Government of Capitalism’. The Times remarked, ‘No one takes Mr Brain seriously or thinks he has the ghost of a chance’. Brain’s 512 votes appear to vindicate The Times view. There was probably more interest in Leeds in the discussions on the plans to construct the West Riding Ship Canal, a waterway from Goole to Leeds, than in the by-election.