Leeds Parliamentary Election Results
1924 - 29th October
Sir C. Wilson (Conservative) 16,182
J. E. C. Neep (Labour) 10,975
Sir G. Beckett (Conservative) 18,502
S. C. Moore (Labour) 7,920
Major J. D. Birchall (Conservative) 16,396
E. Penny (Labour) 8,984
G. R. Woodcock (Liberal) 3,007
H. C. Charleton (Labour) 12,857
G. Ford (Conservative) 11,004
F. Geary (Liberal) 3,800
Sir H. H. Slesser (Labour) 15,133
Hon. W. T. Whiteley (Liberal) 10,704
T. W. Stamford (Labour) 13,057 *
Capt. A. F. G. Renton (Conservative) 13,054
H. Brown (Liberal) 4,597
[ * The lowest margin of victory in a Leeds Parliamentary election. ]
This was a landslide victory for Baldwin’s Conservatives with 412 seats to Labour’s 151 and the Liberals 40. It is said the infamous Zinoviev Letter now known to have been a forgery but published by the Daily Mail four days before the election, had made an impact. It implied there were links between the Russian Communists and the Labour Party. The Times went on to remark on polling day that the Zinoviev letter ‘made a deep impression on all parts of the country’ and that canvassers were finding that the election was ‘a test of strength between those who wish to maintain the existing basis of society and those who desire to discard it for a ‘really Socialist Commonwealth’.
The chairman of the Leeds Trades and Labour Club, F. B. Simpson, described the election as the ‘muddiest and dirtiest he ever remembered’. Labour had been faced by ‘a most disgraceful attack by the Press’ in Leeds. The Yorkshire Post continued to refer not to Labour candidates but to Socialist candidates. Mrs Penny, the Labour candidate, campaigning in Leeds North East, claimed ‘she had never had a meeting fairly or decently reported in the newspapers, which had instead thrown a smoke screen around her views’.
The Yorkshire Post went on to claim that Conservatism had reached a ‘high-water mark in Leeds constituencies’. It was certainly true that the party easily held their original three seats in the city with larger majorities. The most dramatic poll was in Leeds West where the Stamford and Renton’s result was so close the count lasted 11 ½ hours and consisted of the original count and four subsequent recounts before Stamford was declared the winner by 3 votes. It was the closest result in any Leeds election to date.