Leeds MPs

HARVEY, Thomas Edmund (1875–1955) Liberal. Warden at Toynbee Hall.

Born into Quaker family, he dedicated himself to public service becoming a Liberal councillor on the London County Council in 1904. In January 1910 he was victorious in a straight fight with a Conservative Unionist winning Leeds West with a majority of 3,315. He retained the seat in December that year increasing his majority to 4,270. On the outbreak of World War I he went to France as a member of the War Victims’ Relief Committee of the Society of Friends which gave civilian relief to villages devastated by the First Battle of the Marne. As a Quaker, he opposed conscription, even standing on a platform to support Edward Backhouse who was campaigning for ‘Peace by Negotiation’ during a Stockton by-election. The West Leeds Liberal Association disassociated itself from him and in 1917 he declined to stand in the next general election. His Parliamentary career, however, was not over. He was successfully elected for Dewsbury in 1923, lost the seat the following year, was defeated in Leeds North in 1929 but represented the Combined English Universities as an Independent Progressive from1937–1945. For further reading see The Times, 23 April 1910; Yorkshire Evening Post, 29 September 1917; Yorkshire Post, 1 October 1917; The Times, 4 May 1955.