Leeds MPs

ALDAM, William (1813–1890) Liberal.

Although he trained at the Middle Temple he never practised as a barrister. He was a businessman squire. He was successful standing for Leeds in 1841 coming second to the Tory, William Beckett. His running mate, the Radical Joseph Hume failed to get elected. The Liberal coalition with the Radicals was an uneasy one as they suspected Aldam on the secret ballot, Corn Law repeal and his opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England. He was a keen supporter of the development of railways and canals, sponsored a form of state education that was acceptable to all denominations and approved of the abolition of Church rates. In his maiden speech he condemned Peel’s proposal to re-introduce income tax. However, his popularity in the town waned, particularly with the Nonconformists, and it was decided not to invite him stand in the 1847 election. For further reading see D. G. Paz, ‘William Aldam, Backbench MP for Leeds 1841–1847’, Publications of the Thoresby Society, Series 2, Volume 8 (1998).