Leeds MPs

CARTER, Robert Meek (1814–1882) Radical Liberal. Coal merchant and cloth finisher.

Arriving in Leeds in 1830 he worked as a cloth finisher. However, as work began to fall off in the 1840s, he set up as a coal merchant. In 1850 he became a Chartist councillor for Hobeck. He became president of the Radical Reform League and in 1855 a leading influence in the newly formed Leeds Advanced Liberal Party established to further the principles of Chartism. He assiduously campaigned for further Parliamentary Reform, held radical views on the Established Church and supported trade societies being granted legal protection of their funds. He successfully stood in the general election of 1868 as a Radical Liberal and came second. In 1874 he came top of the poll despite the resurgence of the Conservatives. Although both his coal and cloth finishing business flourished, a series of poor investments saw him face financial ruin. He resigned his seat in 1876 and left for America. He returned in 1880 and was again elected as Liberal councillor for Holbeck, a post he retained until his death two year later. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 10 August 1882.