Leeds MPs

BAINES, Matthew Talbot (1799–1860) Liberal. Lawyer.

He was the eldest son of Edward Baines. He enjoyed a successful career on the Northern Circuit and became a QC in 1841. In 1834 he toyed with the idea of standing for Leeds in the by-election that year but his father did so instead. However, he entered Parliament first for Hull in 1847 and made a his mark quickly with Lord John Russell appointing him President of the Poor Law Board, a position he retained in 1852 in the Earl of Aberdeen’s administration. That year he and Sir George Goodman convincingly captured both Leeds seats and when Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister he was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with a place in the Cabinet. Despite the famous unity of Bainesocracy he frequently disagreed with his father and brother, Edward, in particular over voluntaryism in education. In the 1859 election ill health prevented him standing and his brother, Edward, campaigned in his place. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 24 January 1860; Leeds Intelligencer, 28 January 1860; Leeds Times, 28 January 1860