Belper (UK Parliament constituency)

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Belper
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
19181983

Belper is a former constituency in the UK Parliament. It was created at the 1918 general election as a county division of Derbyshire, comprising the area in the centre of the county and surrounding Derby, and named after the market town of Belper although this was in the north of the constituency. In 1950 it was expanded to include the far south of the county. It was a marginal constituency for most of its existence.

The area had an ever-expanding population after 1945 as prosperous suburbs of Derby were built outside the city boundaries. Lord George-Brown, who represented the seat at the time, wrote in 1971 after his defeat in the 1970 general election that "The electorate had increased by over 10,000 since 1966, mainly from the growth of middle-class housing estates, so that most of the new electors could be expected to vote Tory. Since my majority in 1966 was 4,274, an influx of 10,000 new voters, mainly Tory, obviously imperilled the seat."

In fact, a Boundary Commission report issued in 1969 had recommended changes which would have removed the extra voters, but the Labour government of the time had delayed implementation of the report.

Boundaries[edit]

When created in 1918, the constituency consisted of the Urban Districts of Alfreton, Belper and Heage, together with the Rural District of Belper and part of the Rural District of Repton (the civil parishes of Ash, Bearwardcote, Bretby, Burnaston, Dalbury Lees, Egginton, Etwall, Findern, Foremark, Ingleby, Mickleover, Newton Solney, Radbourne, Repton, Trusley, Twyford and Stenson, and Willington).

In 1950, boundary changes removed the Urban Districts of Alfreton and Heage to the Ilkeston constituency, together with the civil parish of Shipley from out of Belper Rural District. To compensate for this loss of electors, the changes transferred in the rest of the Repton Rural District from the West Derbyshire and South East Derbyshire constituencies. In addition from South East Derbyshire came the Urban District of Swadlincote.

In 1974 the boundaries were realigned with those for local government which had changed to transfer some electors to Derby; the constituency consisted of the urban districts of Belper and Swadlincote, and the rural districts of Repton and Belper except the parish of Shipley.

In 1983 the constituency was abolished; the largest part (40,000 voters around Swadlincote) formed the basis of South Derbyshire, 22,000 voters around Belper itself went to West Derbyshire, and 10,000 voters to Amber Valley.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party
1918 John Hancock Liberal
1923 Herbert Wragg Conservative
1929 Jack Lees Labour
1931 Sir Herbert Wragg Conservative
1945 George Brown Labour
1970 Geoffrey Stewart-Smith Conservative
Feb 1974 Roderick MacFarquhar Labour
1979 Sheila Faith Conservative
1983 constituency abolished

Election results[edit]

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Hancock unopposed

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1922: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John George Hancock 12,494 61.1
Labour Oliver Walter Wright 7,942 38.9
Majority 4,552 22.2
Turnout 20,436 63.6
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1923: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Herbert Wragg 9,662 41.8
Labour Oliver Walter Wright 7,284 31.5 -7.4
Liberal John Hancock 6,178 26.7 -34.5
Majority 2,378 10.3
Turnout 23,124 70.0 +6.4
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing
General Election 1924: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Herbert Wragg 14,766 58.2 +16.4
Labour Jack Lees 10,618 41.8 +10.3
Majority 4,148 16.4
Turnout 25,384 74.5
Unionist hold Swing +3.1
General Election 1929: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Jack Lees 15,958 43.0 +1.2
Unionist Herbert Wragg 13,003 35.0 -23.2
Liberal Thomas Scott Anderson 8,149 22.0
Majority 2,955 8.0
Turnout 37,110 82.7 +8.2
Labour gain from Unionist Swing -12.2

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1931: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Herbert Wragg 23,361 60.2 +25.2
Labour Jack Lees 15,450 39.8 -3.2
Majority 7,911 20.4
Turnout 38,811 82.0 -0.7
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +14.2
General Election 1935: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Herbert Wragg 20,078 51.1 -9.1
Labour Jack Lees 19,250 48.9 +9.1
Majority 828 2.2
Turnout 39,328 76.8 -5.2
Conservative hold Swing -9.1

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Belper

Electorate 57,500, Turnout 80.1%, Voters 46,033

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 24,319 52.9 +4.0
Conservative Squadron Leader George Hampson 15,438 33.5 -17.6
Liberal Robert Burrows 6,276 13.6
Majority 8,881 19.4
Turnout 46,033 80.2 +3.4
Labour gain from Conservative Swing -10.8

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

Boundary changes occurred at this point.

General Election 1950: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 30,904 53.2
Conservative Michael Argyle 21,581 37.1
Liberal Dr John Pickett Lawrie 5,650 9.7
Majority 9,323 16.1
Turnout 58,135 88.8
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1951: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 32,875 57.1 +3.9
Conservative Samuel Middup 24,678 42.9 +5.8
Majority 8,197 14.2
Turnout 57,553 86.8 -2.0
Labour hold Swing +1.0
General Election 1955: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 30,214 55.6 -1.5
Conservative John Twells 24,115 44.4 +1.5
Majority 6,099 11.2
Turnout 54,329 81.6 -5.2
Labour hold Swing +1.5
General Election 1959: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 31,344 53.7 -1.9
Conservative Mrs Joyce Ratcliffe 27,007 46.3 +1.9
Majority 4,337 7.4
Turnout 58,351 84.2 +2.6
Labour hold Swing +1.9

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1964: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 30,481 47.3 -6.4
Conservative John Luke Lowther 24,169 37.5 -8.8
Liberal Norman Heathcote 9,807 15.2
Majority 6,312 9.8
Turnout 64,457 86.1 +1.9
Labour hold Swing -1.2
General Election 1966: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour George Brown 34,495 53.3 +6.0
Conservative John Luke Lowther 30,221 46.7 +9.2
Majority 4,274 6.6
Turnout 64,716 84.1 -2.0
Labour hold Swing +1.6

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1970: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Stewart-Smith 35,757 51.5 +4.8
Labour George Brown 33,633 48.5 -4.8
Majority 2,124 3.0
Turnout 69,390 80.1 -4.0
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +4.8

Boundary changes occurred at this point.

General Election February 1974: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Roderick MacFarquhar 30,611 51.7
Conservative Geoffrey Stewart-Smith 28,577 48.3
Majority 2,034 3.4
Turnout 59,188 83.8 +3.6
Labour hold Swing +4.0
General Election October 1974: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Roderick MacFarquhar 27,365 47.1 -4.6
Conservative Simon Newall 21,681 37.4 -10.9
Liberal Julian Wates 9,017 15.5
Majority 5,684 9.7
Turnout 58,063 81.6 -1.2
Labour hold Swing -3.2
General Election 1979: Belper
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sheila Faith 27,193 44.4 +7.0
Labour Roderick MacFarquhar 26,311 42.9 -4.2
Liberal Malcolm Peel 7,331 12.0 -3.5
National Front John Grand-Scrutton 460 0.7
Majority 882 1.5
Turnout 61,295 83.6 +2.0
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +5.6

References[edit]