At the 1868 general election he was Liberal candidate for the constituency of Stalybridge, but was defeated by his Conservative opponent, James Sidebottom. Sidebottom died in February 1871 causing a by-election. Initially the local Liberal Party selected the Honourable Edward Lyuth Stanley as their candidate, but following a number of delegations of "working men", Buckley was chosen. The by-election was held on 28 February and Buckley won the seat by 208 votes.
By the 1870s Buckley was a millionaire and in 1873 he purchased the Galtee estate of the Earl of Kingston, near Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland. Following a revaluation, he issued rent demands to his new tenants of between fifty and five hundred percent. This led to a great deal of agrarian unrest, evictions and an attempted assassination of Buckley's land agent. His actions also demonstrated weaknesses in the Irish Land Acts which were consequently amended.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 4)
- Election Intelligence, The Times, 25 February 1871, p. 9
- Election Intelligence, The Times, 1 March 1871, p. 8
- "Land Tenure (Ireland) Bill". Hansard. 6 February 1878. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "No. 23253". The London Gazette. 21 May 1867. p. 2929.
- "No. 26327". The London Gazette. 20 September 1892. p. 5352.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nathaniel Buckley
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Stalybridge
1871 – 1874
Tom Harrop Sidebottom