Leeds MPs

BEST, Harold (born 1937) Labour. Electrical technician.

He was educated at Meanwood County Secondary School. As a trade union official he fought against Communist infiltration of the Electrical Trades Union in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1997, during the Labour landslide, he was considered an unexpected winner in what was recognised as the safe Conservative seat of Leeds North West. He achieved a majority of 3,844. In 2001 he increased that to 5,236. Although on the left of the party he remained loyal to the Government but did oppose its welfare cuts and its Iraq policy. He voted to abolish hereditary peers from the House of Lords, voted for gay rights and banning hunting, and supported the campaign for terminally ill people to be able to be given assistance to end their lives. Over tuition fees and smoking, at various times, he voted both for against them. He also opposed predatory media pricing, selling newspapers below cost price. Always a keen observer of trade union law developments, he was described as being ‘on the pragmatic left of the party’. He decided not to stand in 2005. For further reading see http://www. bbc.co.uk