He was elected as Conservative and Unionist Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford Central at the 1918 general election. He retired from Parliament and did not contest the 1922 general election, when Bradford Central was won by the Labour Party candidate, William Leach.
Ratcliffe was born in 1845 and attended Bradford Grammar School, before joining his father’s butcher’s business, later becoming President of the Yorkshire Federation of Butchers. He served as a Bradford City councillor in 1881–83 and from 1891, and became leader of the Conservative Party on the Council and chairman of a number of council committees. He died in Bradford on 9 April 1929 at the age of 84.
He married in 1871 and had three sons. His wife and two sons pre-deceased him, the surviving son taking over the family butcher's business.
- "House of Commons constituencies beginning with "B" (part 4)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Archived from the original on 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
- Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Obituary: Wednesday 10 April 1929, page: 6.
- Who Was Who 1929–1940. Adam & Charles Black. 1947. ISBN 9780713601701.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Henry Ratcliffe