Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1959 - 8th October

D. W. Healey (Labour) 28,707
J. A. Fawcett (Conservative) 23,922

North East
Sir K. Joseph (Conservative) 26,240
H. W. Waterman (Labour) 14,709

North West
D. Kaberry (Conservative) 35,210 *
D. B. Matthews (Labour) 18,508
[ * The largest number of votes cast for a Leeds member.]

H. T. N. Gaitskell (Labour) 24,442 **
J. F. W. Addey (Conservative) 12,956
J. B. Meeks (Liberal) 4,340
[ * * Died 1963. ]

South East
A. M. Bacon (Labour) 21,795
J. B. Womersely (Conservative) 12,146

T. C. Pannell (Labour) 25,878
D. L. Crouch (Conservative) 21,285

Harold Macmillan now led the Conservatives who, with  their supporters, won 365 seats compared with Labour’s 258 and the Liberals with just 6. The Times called it, ‘One of the most baffling and incalculable elections of recent times.’ It was the Conservatives third successive victory. The Conservatives were recovering from the Suez debacle but as the economy was improving, they ran a campaign based on the theme ‘Don’t Let Labour Ruin It!’ Macmillan famously summed things up in 1957 saying, ‘Most of our people have never had it so good’. The main issues of concern for voters were said not to be foreign affairs, nationalisation and economic policy but rather rents, taxation, pensions, mortgage rates and the security of employment.

Speaking from Leeds the Leader of the Opposition, Hugh Gaitskell, condemned the British policy of the last few years including that over Suez, Nyasaland, Cyprus and the massacre at the Hola detention camp in Kenya. In Leeds each party retained its seats but the national pattern was followed in that every Labour seat saw its majority reduced whereas in both Conservative seats the majorities were increased. Kaberry in Leeds North West registered 35,210 votes, the most ever cast for a Leeds MP. His constituency with 69,243 voters was the largest in the city. As early as one o’clock in the morning Gaitskell conceded defeat.