Leeds MPs

GANE, John Lawrence (1837–1895) Liberal. Barrister.

After working the London and then Midland Circuits he moved to Leeds in 1875 and joined the North Eastern Circuit. Concerned over the conditions of the poor, he was also interested in education and was thus elected to the Leeds School Board. In 1885 he was invited to contest Leeds East but was defeated by 345 votes, a direct result of Charles Stewart Parnell’s intervention advising all Irishmen to vote against the Liberals in protest at Gladstone’s failure to support Home Rule. The following year Gladstone reversed his policy, Parnell countermanded his original instruction and Gane won by 1,110 votes. By the 1892 election the Liberals were bitterly divided between the Gladstonian Liberals who supported Home Rule and the Liberal Unionists led by Joseph Chamberlain. There was some dispute whether Gane should be allowed to stand and when he finally did so his majority was reduced to 827. Ill health and the internal discord in the Liberal Party affected him and he was severely criticised at times for failing in his duties. He declared he would not stand in the 1895 election. He died that year on a cruise returning from New Zealand. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 20, 24 April 1895; Leeds Times, 20 April 1895.