Leeds Parliamentary Election Results


1979 - 3 May

D. W. Healey (Labour) 26,346
A. Carter (Conservative) 15,810
M. L. Ellis (Liberal) 4,622
S. J. Rigby (National Front) 445
A. C. Hill (Ecology) 206
B. Slaughter (Workers’ Revolutionary ) 103

North East
Sir K. Joseph (Conservative) 20,297
R. H. Sedler (Labour) 14,913
R. Hollingworth (Liberal) 5,329
S. Parkin (Ecology) 813
E. L. Tibbitts (Anti-Corruption) 103

North West
Sir D. Kaberry (Conservative) 23,837
P. A.O’Grady (Labour) 17,623
L. W. Keates (Liberal) 7,899
K. Rushworth (Ecology) 847

M. Rees (Labour) 22,388
R. Ratcliffe (Conservative) 8,058
F. Hurst (Liberal) 3,568
B. Spink (National Front) 416

South East
S. Cohen (Labour) 15,921
M. Sexton (Conservative) 6,549
M. Clay (Liberal) 5,430
J. M. Rodgers (Communist) 190
P. Flint (National Front) 168

J. Dean (Labour) 21,290
H. Simmonds (Conservative) 11,626
C. Greenfield (Liberal) 9,734
J. Duckenfield (National Front) 466

The election followed the so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’ and was held in a climate of public opinion weary of strikes generally. Labour campaigned on supporting the National Health Service and full employment. The Conservatives campaigned on the need to control inflation and to restrict the power of the unions. It was a popular call that appealed to 13,697,923 voters or 43.9 % of the vote. The Conservatives saw the party win 339 seats and the country get its first woman Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher. Labour dropped dramatically to 269 seats.

Leeds saw a widening of political interest with, in addition to the traditional three parties standing, five other parties competing.. The Ecology Party fielded three candidates and would later be succeeded by the Green Party. The National Front fielded four. This party was politically a far right movement, often perceived as neo-Fascist, that grew in popularity during the 1970s until it entered 303 candidates nationally in this election. Not one was elected.

In Leeds the national trend was not followed in that three of the Labour victors increased their share of the vote with only Cohen in Leeds South East seeing his majority reduced. One factor may have been the 65% turnout there, the lowest in the city. In the council elections held the same day, the Conservatives lost their overall majority.