Leeds Parliamentary Election Results
1902 - 29th July - by-election
R. H. Barran (Liberal) 7,539
Sir A. Lawson (Conservative) 6,781
The by-election came about when William Lawies Jackson was raised to the peerage as Baron Allerton. The Liberal win was a shock result with Leeds North being considered a safe Conservative seat. The election was fought over concern about Home Rule and the taxation of food. The Tory Party was split over protectionism which the Liberals argued would in effect put a tax on food. There was also a general expression of dismay in the country with regard to the Government’s Education Bill which abolished the school boards.
Returning Rowland Barran meant that the Liberals had changed a Conservative majority in the constituency of 2,517 into a Liberal one of 758. That was despite the fact that Lawson had the support of the Amalgamated Licensing Trades and the majority of Roman Catholics. He was, however, seen as a weak candidate and an ineffective speaker and not in the same league as the popular Jackson. One of the features of the election was the use of motor cars gaily bedecked with the parties’ colours.