Leeds MPs

STAMFORD, Thomas William (1882–1949) Labour. Bookbinder.

As a young man he became acquainted with and considerably influenced by Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, a detailed inquiry into the causes of industrial depressions and Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, a critique of materialism and philosophical rationalism. He moved to Bradford where he began work as a bookbinder and joined the Independent Labour Party, later becoming its chairman. He became a councillor on Bradford City Council in 1912, serving on it for ten years. In 1921 he became president of the Bradford Trades and Labour Council. In 1922 he stood for Leeds West and was defeated but in December 1923 Stamford registered a convincing win with a majority of 2,002. Stamford again won in 1924 but the result reflected the Conservative landslide of that year and his majority was virtually annihilated being reduced to just 3, the smallest ever recorded for a victorious Leeds candidate. He was successful again in 1929 but lost out to Vyvian Adams, the National Conservative candidate in 1931. Defeated again in 1935 Stamford turned the tables ten years later turning Adams’ majority of 3,234 votes into a Labour one of 14,136. Pressure of work, however, took its toll and in 1949 Stamford committed suicide at his home in Bradford whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed. For further reading see Yorkshire Evening Post, 30 May 1949.