Leeds MPs

MILNER, James (1889–1967) Labour. Solicitor.

After university he began work in the family firm of solicitors but on the outbreak of World War I he volunteered and eventually became a major in the RAOC. Then with the Devon Regiment he won the Military Cross and bar. After the war he joined the Leeds Labour Party, was elected to the council in 1923 and in 1926 became chairman of the local party. When Sir Henry Slesser, MP for Leeds South East, was appointed a judge at the Appeal Court in 1929, Milner was asked to stand in the by-election. Being a safe Labour seat, the other main parties opted not stand but the Communists did so. Milner succeeded with a massive 11,292 majority. He then successfully defended the seat until he was ennobled in 1951. During his period in the Commons he was a member of the Indian Franchise Committee in 1932, deputy chairman of Ways and Means in 1935 and Deputy Speaker of the House from 1943–1951. In that role he saved the Government in1950 by making the casting vote on the Road Haulage Bill when the House had divided at 278 votes each. In 1951 he became Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. For further reading see The Times, 17 July 1967.