Leeds MPs

BIRCHALL, Sir John Dearman (1875–1941) Conservative.

He was the son of John Dearman Birchall, the senior partner in the worsted and cloth business of Burley Mills and Wellington Street. He decided to enter Parliament and stood for Leeds North in the 1906 general election. Known as ‘the deluge’, the Conservatives were heavily defeated in the Liberal landslide with Sir Rowland Barran easily seeing off Birchall’s challenge with a majority of 2,484. In the two elections of 1910, Birchall successively reduced that majority first to 1,611 and then to 268. World War I saw him serving on as a major in the Gloucester Hussars Imperial Yeomanry. In the general election of 1918 he was selected to stand for the newly created Leeds North East constituency. Here he emphatically won by 9,770 votes and established the division as a safe Conservative seat which returned him each election until ill health forced his resignation in 1940. He was particularly active on housing problems to the point he was criticised by some Conservatives for supporting the initiative shown by the Labour council in Leeds. A ‘moderate’ churchman he was much involved in the affairs of the Anglican Church. For further reading see Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 January 1941; Yorkshire Post, 7 January 1941.