Bridgwater (UK Parliament constituency)
|Former County constituency|
|for the House of Commons|
Boundary of Bridgwater in Somerset for the 2005 general election.
Location of Somerset within England.
|Number of members||One|
|Replaced by||Bridgwater & West Somerset|
|Created from||West Somerset|
|Number of members||Two|
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
|Replaced by||West Somerset|
Bridgwater was a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, until 2010 when it was replaced by the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 History
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Elections
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 Sources
From Parliament's enactment of the major Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 which took effect at the 1885 general election, a new county division of Bridgwater was created, which lasted with modifications until 2010. The constituency expanded considerably beyond Bridgwater town itself from 1885.
Bridgwater frequently compared to other seats had a radical or game-changing representative, though since 1950 this became less noticeable in its candidates elected.
The seat received particular fame in late 1938 when a by-election took place in the aftermath of the signing of the Munich Agreement. Opponents of the agreement persuaded the local Labour and Liberal parties to not field candidates of their own against the Conservative candidate, but to instead jointly back an independent standing on a platform of opposition to the Government's foreign policy, in the hope that this would be the precursor to the formation of a more general Popular Front of opposition to the government of Neville Chamberlain in anticipation of the General Election due in either 1939 or 1940. The noted journalist Vernon Bartlett stood as the independent Popular Front candidate and achieved a sensational victory in what was hitherto a Conservative seat. He represented the constituency for the next twelve years.
In 1970 another by-election in the constituency achieved fame as it was the first occasion when 18, 19 and 20 year olds were able to vote in the UK Parliamentary election. The first under-21 year old to cast a vote was Susan Wallace. The by-election was won by the future Conservative Cabinet Minister Tom King who held the seat for the next thirty-one years, followed by another Conservative until its abolition in 2010.
Members of Parliament
- Constituency created (1295)
Bridgwater borough, 1295-1870
Bridgwater county division, 1885-present
- County division created (1885)
|1906||Henry Greville Montgomery||Liberal|
|1910||Rt Hon. Sir Robert Arthur Sanders, Bt, later Baron Bayford||Conservative|
|1923||William Ewart Morse||Liberal|
|1924||Brooks Crompton Wood||Conservative|
|1929||Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson ||Conservative|
|1938||Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett||Independent Progressive|
|1950||Sir Gerald Wills||Conservative|
|1970||Rt Hon Tom King, later Baron King of Bridgwater||Conservative|
|2010||constituency abolished: see Bridgwater and West Somerset|
Elections in the 1910s
General Election 1914/15: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place from 1914 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected; Conservative: Robert Sanders, Liberal: Philip F Rowsell JP.
|General Election 1918
|Labour||S. J. Plummer||5,771|
A # denotes candidate who was endorsed by the Coalition Government.
Elections in the 1920s
|General Election 1922
|Unionist||Sir Robert Arthur Sanders||11,240|
|Liberal||William Ewart Morse||11,121|
|Labour||Thomas Samuel Beauchamp-Williams||1,598|
|General Election 1923
|Liberal||William Ewart Morse||13,778|
|Unionist||Rt Hon. Sir Robert Arthur Sanders||12,347|
|Liberal gain from Unionist||Swing|
|General Election 1924
|Unionist||Brooks Crompton Wood||14,283||52.7|
|Liberal||William Ewart Morse||10,842||40.0|
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||1,966||7.3|
|Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing|
|General Election 1929
|Unionist||Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson||15,440||46.8|
|Liberal||Joseph William Molden||11,161||33.8|
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||6,423||19.4|
Elections in the 1930s
|General Election 1931: Bridgwater
|Conservative||Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson||24,041||77.51|
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||6,974||22.49|
|General Election 1935: Bridgwater
|Conservative||Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson||17,939||56.86|
|Liberal||N D Blake||7,370||23.36|
|Labour||Cllr. Arthur W Loveys||6,240||19.78|
|Bridgwater by-election, 1938
|Independent Progressive||Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett||19,540||53.2||+53.2|
|Conservative||Patrick Gerald Heathcoat-Amory||17,208||46.8||-10.1|
|Independent Progressive gain from Conservative||Swing|
Elections in the 1940s
General Election 1939/40: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;
|General Election 1945: Bridgwater
|Independent Progressive||Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett||17,937||45.79|
|Independent Progressive hold||Swing|
Elections in the 1950s
|General Election 1950
|Labour||Norman E Carr||16,053||36.08|
|Conservative gain from Independent Progressive||Swing|
|General Election 1951
|Labour||Norman E Carr||19,656||43.66|
|General Election 1955
Electorate : 53,920
|Labour||Albert E Sumbler||17,170||40.83|
|General Election 1959
|Conservative||Sir Gerald Wills||23,002||50.44|
|Liberal||Philip George Watkins||7,893||17.31|
Elections in the 1960s
|General Election 1964
|Conservative||Sir Gerald Wills||20,822||44.8|
|Labour||Norman J Hart||14,645||31.5|
|Liberal||Philip George Watkins||9,009||19.4|
|Independent||Michael L de V Hart||2,038||4.4|
|General Election 1966
|Conservative||Sir Gerald Wills||20,850||44.4|
|Liberal||Philip George Watkins||8,205||17.5|
Elections in the 1970s
|Bridgwater by-election, 1970
|Liberal||Patrick M O'Loughlin||5,832||12.6||+4.9|
|General Election 1970
|Labour||Raymond J Billington||18,224||35.8|
|Liberal||Patrick M O'Loughlin||6,066||11.9|
|General Election February 1974: Bridgwater|
|General Election October 1974: Bridgwater|
|United Democratic||SR Harrad||288||0.5|
|General Election 1979: Bridgwater|
Elections in the 1980s
|General Election 1983: Bridgwater|
|Social Democrat||R Farley||14,410||30.00|
|General Election 1987: Bridgwater|
|Social Democrat||C Clarke||15,982||30.30|
Elections in the 1990s
|General Election 1992: Bridgwater|
|Liberal Democrat||WJ Revans||16,894||29.69|
|Natural Law||G Sanson||112||0.20|
|General Election 1997: Bridgwater|
|Liberal Democrat||Michael Hoban||18,378||33.65|
|Referendum Party||Fran Evens||2,551||4.67|
Elections in the 2000s
|General Election 2001: Bridgwater|
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Thorn||14,367||30.00|
|General Election 2005: Bridgwater|
|Liberal Democrat||James Main||10,940||22.70|
Notes and references
- "THOMER (TOMERE), William, of Bridgwater, Som.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- Browne Willis gives Molyns' name only tentatively for 1555
- "Bridgwater". The History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Expelled as a monopolist, January 1641
- Cobbett lists the second MP elected in 1645 as John Palmer, MD, and gives Blake as MP for Taunton. Brunton & Pennington agree with the Dictionary of National Biography in naming Blake as MP for Bridgwater and Palmer for Taunton.
- Perceval was initially declared re-elected in 1768, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Poulett, was seated in his place.
- Allen was initially declared re-elected in 1780, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Acland, was seated in his place.
- Vice-Admiral from 1787
- Lieutenant-Colonel from 1793, Colonel from 1796
- The election of Westropp was declared void and a by-election was held
- The election of Kinglake and Vanderbyl in 1868 declared void. The writ (of election) was suspended and a Royal Commission was appointed, which reported that it had found proof of extensive bribery.
- Croom-Johnson vacated his seat on appointment as a Justice of the High Court.
- Bartlett contested the 1938 by-election with the support of the local Labour and Liberal Associations, standing on a Popular Front and anti-appeasement programme.
- Western Daily Press, 13 Jan 1939
- Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1974)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press, revised edition 1977)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1950-1973, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832-1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume III 1919-1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1979)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume IV 1945-1979, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1981)
- Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) 
- D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
- Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) 
- Esther S Cope and Willson H Coates (eds), Camden Fourth Series, Volume 19: Proceedings of the Short Parliament of 1640 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1977)
- Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988) 
- J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
- 'Bridgwater: Parliamentary representation' in Victoria County History of Somerset: Volume 6 (1992)