Michael Meadowcroft

Michael James Meadowcroft (born 6 March 1942) is a British politician and political affairs consultant. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds West from 1983 to 1987.

Michael Meadowcroft
1st Leader of refounded Liberal Party
In office
13 March 1989  2002
Preceded byparty refounded
Succeeded byMike Oborski
Member of Parliament
for Leeds West
In office
9 June 1983  11 June 1987
Preceded byJoseph Dean
Succeeded byJohn Battle
Leeds City Councillor
for Armley Ward
Armley & Castleton (1973-1980)
In office
1973  1983
Preceded byNew ward
Succeeded bySandy Melville
Leeds City Councillor
for Castleton Ward
In office
1968  1973
Preceded byWard created
Succeeded byWard abolished
Personal details
Born (1942-03-06) 6 March 1942 (age 78)
Southport, England
Political party

Early life

Meadowcroft grew up in Southport and was educated at King George V Grammar School. In 1958, he left school to work as a bank clerk, and joined the Liberal Party. He became Chairman of the Merseyside Region of the National League of Young Liberals in 1961.

Early political career

Between 1962 and 1967, Meadowcroft worked for the Liberal Party and became the party's Local Government Officer.[1]

In 1968, he was elected as a Liberal member of Leeds City Council and served until 1983. Meadowcroft also led the Liberal Group on the council for a large part of his time as a city councillor. He also served as a member of West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1981 to 1983.[2]

He held many roles within the party, including the chair of the Liberal Party Assembly committee responsible for organising the party's conferences. He also authored a number of influential pamphlets championing liberal philosophy and the principles of community politics.[3]

Member of Parliament

He stood unsuccessfully in Leeds West for the Liberals in the general elections of February 1974 and October 1974 before winning in 1983, defeating Labour MP Joseph Dean.

In his maiden speech, he took a familiar stand on the subject of decentralisation of power: "Already there is too much central Government power in local government, as well as the power of individual Ministers to appoint to regional bodies, such as health and water authorities. The thought of Ministers directing more services is certainly alarming. The possession of power is always dangerous. Only by spreading power can we minimise its dangerous effects. The checks and balances of local elections each year within the life of a Parliament are the best deterrents to extreme action."[4]

He served as party spokesman on local government and on housing. In one of his final speeches, in 1987, he highlighted the problems of rising housing costs: "We should reduce the immense pressure on the south-east, where house prices, or more accurately, land prices spiral upwards, way ahead of inflation. It seems to me that it is no longer possible for young people, as first-time buyers, in the south-east to have the type of housing which we, in the north, would regard as adequate or desirable. That will not do."[5]

Meadowcroft was defeated in the 1987 general election by Labour candidate John Battle.

Post-Parliamentary career

Meadowcroft was highly critical of the Liberal Party's merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the Social and Liberal Democrats (the name was soon shortened to the 'Liberal Democrats'). As a result, he was a co-founder and the first leader of the continued Liberal Party.

Following the loss of his parliamentary seat, he stood to be elected once again to Leeds City Council and contested Bramley ward in the 1990 and 1991 elections.

Meadowcroft stood against John Battle again in Leeds West in 1992 as the Liberal Party candidate. He finished in fourth place, behind Battle, Paul Bartlett of the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat candidate Viscount Morpeth.

On 5 October 2007, it was announced that Meadowcroft had joined the Liberal Democrats, citing the party's opposition to the Iraq War, its rejection of the identity cards policy and their commitment to a united Europe.[6]


  1. Meadowcroft, Michael. "Liberalism". Personal website.
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20121017085028/http://www.liberalhistory.org.uk/item_single.php?item_id=32&item=biography
  3. Smulian, Mark. "Biography of Michael Meadowcroft". Liberal Democrat History Group. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012.
  4. "SECOND DAY HC Deb 23 June 1983 vol 44 cc181-257". Hansard.
  5. "Housing HC Deb 28 April 1987 vol 115 cc177-225". Hansard.
  6. Michael Meadowcroft (13 October 2007). "Opinion: Why I joined the Liberal Democrats". Lib Dem Voice. Retrieved 9 May 2015.