Leeds MPs

BECKETT, Sir John (1775–1847) Tory. Lawyer.

He was a scion of the Beckett banking family but practised as a barrister on the Northern Circuit. In 1806 he was appointed Under Secretary of State of the Home Department in the Ministry of all the Talents and in 1817 he became a Privy Councillor. In 1820 he was elected MP for Cockermouth and then for Haslemere in the 1826, 1830 and 1831 general elections. Appointed Judge Advocate by Wellington in 1828, he was re-appointed to the post by Peel, holding the post from 1834–1835. In 1832 he unsuccessfully contested East Retford but then stood in the Leeds by-election of 1834 only to be beaten by the Whig, Edward Baines. In the general election the following year Beckett came top of the poll and thus became the first Tory to be elected for one of the newly enfranchised boroughs. In the 1837 general election, brought about by the accession of Queen Victoria, he lost his seat. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 5 June 1847.