Leeds Parliamentary Election Results
Representation of the People Act 1948 – Abolished plural voting and university seats
1949 - 21st July - by-election
T. C. Pannell (Labour) 21,935
B. Mather (Conservative) 17,826
The by-election was caused by the death of Tom Stamford. The coroner’s verdict stated it was ‘Death from coal gas poisoning committed while the balance of his mind was disturbed.’ He had been in poor health for some time. The Conservatives campaigned hard in Leeds using some of their most influential ministers, with Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan, two future prime ministers, visiting the constituency. Bertrand Mather warned that ‘recent history in Eastern Europe had shown that Socialist States presented an open door to Communism’.
Although Labour retained the seat its majority was slashed by 10,000 votes in a straight fight with the Conservatives. Factors influencing it was a drop in the popularity of the Government and the fact that Mather was a local brewer, whereas Pannell was a trade union AEU nominee and a Londoner, indeed, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post canvassers were regularly being asked, ‘What have you brought a foreigner in for?’ The other factor on which both candidates were agreed was that Liberal voters had tended to vote Conservative rather than Labour.