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Results & Constituencies
 Leeds Central
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Hilary Benn Labour 18,277 66.9 -2.7
Victoria Richmond Conservative 3,896 14.3 +0.6
Stewart Arnold Liberal Democrat 3,607 13.2 +1.9
David Burgess UK Independence 775 2.8  
Stephen Johnston Socialist Alliance 751 2.8  
Majority 14,381 52.7
Turnout 27,306 41.7 -12.5
Against 1997 General Election 1.6% from Labour to Conservative

The 1999 by-election in Leeds Central, following the death of Derek Fatchett, was typical of by-elections in recent years. A low turnout of just 19.6% saw Labour's Hillary Benn continue the party's stranglehold on one of its safest seats, albeit with a vastly reduced majority of 2,293 compared to Mr Fatchett’s 1997 total of 20,689.

As with many large northern UK cities such as Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool, Leeds has suffered from depopulation, and lost 10% of its inner city population between 1981 and 1991. This factor prompted the 1995 Boundary Review that brought the ward of Hunslet into the fold from the former Leeds South and Morley seat. This reorganisation only served to strengthen Labour's grip on this seat in 1997, as Hunslet is one of the most working-class and traditionally one of the most strongly Labour wards in the whole city. Leeds Central takes in the commercial area of the former woollen metropolis, the university buildings and part of the city's relatively small black and Asian communities.

Despite the famous Leeds back-to-back terrace housing giving way to more modern developments, levels of council house occupancy and unemployment are still the highest here in the whole city, with most of those who do work being in unskilled or partly-skilled occupations.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Leeds Central
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Derek Fatchett Labour 25,766 69.6
Edward Wild Conservative 5,077 13.7
David Freeman Liberal Democrat 4,164 11.3
Philip Myers Referendum 1,042 2.8
Dave Rix Socialist Labour 656 1.8
Chris Hill Socialist Party 304 0.8
Majority 20,689 55.9
Turnout 37,009 54.2
Parliamentary By-Election
 Leeds Central
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Hilary Benn Labour 6,361 48.2
Peter Wild Liberal Democrat 4,068 30.9
William Wild Conservative 1,618 12.3
David Blackburn Green 478 3.6
Raymond Northgreaves UK Independence 353 2.7
Chris Hill Independent 258 2.0
Julian Fitzgerald Independent 51 0.4
Majority 2,293 17.3
Turnout 13,187 19.6