Caithness and Sutherland (UK Parliament constituency)

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Caithness and Sutherland
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Subdivisions of Scotland Highland
19181997
Replaced by Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross
Created from Caithness, Sutherland and Wick Burghs

Caithness and Sutherland was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1997. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

The constituency was created by merging the constituencies of Caithness and Sutherland and the Dornoch and Wick components of the Wick Burghs constituency.

In 1997 the constituency was superseded by the creation of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, which merged Caithness and Sutherland and the Easter Ross area of Ross, Cromarty and Skye.

Caithness and Sutherland was geographically the largest constituency in the United Kingdom.

1918 constituency reform[edit]

The creation of Caithness and Sutherland as a single constituency was a part of a package of boundary reform also affecting many other parts of the United Kingdom. The reform was the first since the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and its main aim was to make constituencies more equal in terms of the sizes of their electorates.

Local government areas[edit]

1918 to 1975

When created the constituency covered the county of Caithness and the county of Sutherland, including the burghs of Dornoch, Thurso and Wick.

1975 to 1983

In 1975 counties and burghs were abolished and the constituency became an area within the Highland region. The region included two new local government districts, called Caithness and Sutherland. The Caithness district was entirely within the constituency. The Sutherland district had a small area, the Kincardine electoral division, within the Ross and Cromarty constituency.

1983 to 1996

Constituency boundaries were redrawn in 1983, and the Caithness and Sutherland constituency was enlarged to cover the whole of the Sutherland district.

1996 to 1997

In 1996 the districts were abolished and the Highland region became a unitary council area. Throughout the remainder of the life of the constituency the Highland Council had area committees representing the areas of the former districts.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member [1] Party
1918 Sir Leicester Harmsworth, Bt Coalition Liberal
1922 Sir Archibald Sinclair, Bt National Liberal
1922 Liberal
1945 Eric Leslie Gandar Dower Conservative
1950 Sir David Robertson Conservative
1959 Independent Conservative
1964 George Y Mackie Liberal
1966 Robert Maclennan Labour
1981 SDP
1988 Liberal Democrats

At the time of the 1918 general election Sir Robert Harmsworth had been, immediately before the election, MP for the constituency of Caithness.

In the general election of 1997 Robert Maclennan was elected MP for the then new constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

Election results[edit]

Election in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1992: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Robert Maclennan 10,032 45.1 −8.6
Conservative George Bruce 4,667 20.9 +4.2
SNP Kerr MacGregor 4,049 18.2 +8.2
Labour Michael F.Coyne 3,483 15.6 +0.7
Majority 5,365 24.1
Turnout 22,231 72.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing −6.4

Election in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Social Democratic Robert Maclennan 12,338 53.7 +1.7
Conservative Robert Lyon Hamilton 3,844 16.7 −5.9
Labour Allan Byron 3,437 14.9 +0.7
SNP Archibal William Kerr MacGregor 2,371 10.3 −1.0
Independent Liberal William Alexander Mowat 686 2.9 N/A
Green Bernard Roger Planterose 333 1.4 N/A
Majority 8,494 36.9
Turnout 73.6
Social Democratic hold Swing +3.8
General Election 1983: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Social Democratic Robert Maclennan 12,119 52.0 N/A
Conservative Alistair M. Scouller 5,276 22.6 -7.9
Labour Danny Carrigan 3,325 14.2 -27.2
SNP Jim Ingram 2,568 11.0 -16.9
Majority 6,843 29.4
Turnout 23,288 75.4
Social Democratic gain from Labour Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robert Maclennan 9,613 41.4 +7.5
Conservative Richard H. Wardrop 7,074 30.5 +11.3
SNP Robin Shaw 6,487 27.9 +3.6
Majority 2,539
Turnout
Labour hold Swing -1.9
General Election October 1974: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robert Maclennan 7,491 33.9 -2.2
SNP Eric Alexander Sutherland 5,381 24.3 +8.2
Liberal Michael R Burnett 4,949 22.4 -3.8
Conservative Albert McQuarrie 4,240 19.2% -2.3
Majority 2,110
Turnout
Labour hold Swing -5.2
General Election February 1974: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robert Maclennan 8,574 36.1 -0.6
Liberal Michael R Burnett 6,222 26.2% +0.8
Conservative G Susan Bell 5,104 21.5 -0.8
SNP Eric Alexander Sutherland 3,814 16.1% +0.7
Majority 2,352
Turnout
Labour hold Swing -0.7
General Election 1970: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robert Maclennan 8,768 36.7 -2.4
Liberal George Y Mackie 6,063 25.4 -13.4
Conservative John M Young 5,334 22.3 +0.4
SNP Donald G. Barr 3,690 15.4 N/A
Majority 2,705
Turnout
Labour hold Swing +5.5

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robert Maclennan 8,308 39.1 +8.9
Liberal George Yull Mackie 8,244 38.8 +2.7
Conservative Hamish Watt 4,662 21.9 N/A
Majority 64 0.30
Turnout 79.21
Labour gain from Liberal Swing +3.1
General Election 1964: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Yull Mackie 7,894 36.1% N/A
Labour John B Urquart 6,619 30.2% -4.4
Unionist Patrick Maitland 4,550 20.8% N/A
Independent Unionist John M Young 2,795 12.7% -52.6
Majority 1,275 5.83
Turnout 80.09
Liberal gain from Independent Unionist Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Unionist Sir David Robertson 12,163 65.3% N/A
Labour Ronald King Murray 6,438 34.6 +5.6
Majority 5,725 30.78
Turnout 69.62
Independent Unionist gain from Unionist Swing
General Election 1955: Caithness and Sutherland[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Sir David Robertson 10,453 56.5 +7.2
Labour Hugh F Sutherland 5,364 29.0 -5.1
Liberal John Stuart Mowat 2,674 14.5 -2.1
Majority 5,089 27.5
Turnout 18,491 69.5
Unionist hold Swing +6.1
General Election 1951: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist David Robertson 9,814 49.3 +13.2
Labour Richard Murray 6,799 34.1 +4.8
Liberal Peter J M McEwan 3,299 16.6 -18.1
Majority 3,015 15.14
Turnout 73.26
Unionist hold Swing +4.2
General Election 1950: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist David Robertson 6,969 36% +2.5
Liberal Sir Archibald Sinclair 6,700 34.6 +1.5
Labour Alasdair MacArthur 5,676 29.3% -4
Majority 269 1.38
Turnout 76.56
Unionist hold Swing +3.3

Election in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Eric Leslie Gandar Dower 5,564 33.5%
Labour Robert MacInnes 5,558 33.4%
Liberal Sir Archibald Sinclair 5,503 33.1%
Majority 6 0.04
Turnout 64.18
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing

Election in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1935: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Sir Archibald Sinclair 12,071 72.32
Liberal National William Bruce 4,621 27.68
Majority 7,650 44.63
Turnout 60.06
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1931: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Sir Archibald Sinclair Unopposed
Liberal hold Swing

Election in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1929: Caithness and Sutherland

Electorate 27,399

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Sir Archibald Henry Macdonald Sinclair 13,462 73.9
Unionist James Alexander Lawson Duncan 3,041 16.7
Ind. Labour Party Charles G Oman 1,711 9.4
Majority 10,421 57.2
Turnout 66.5
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1924: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Archibald Sinclair Unopposed
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1923: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Archibald Sinclair Unopposed
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 15 November 1922: Caithness and Sutherland
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
National Liberal Archibald Sinclair 7,715
Liberal Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth
Majority 1,912
Turnout
National Liberal hold Swing

Election in the 1910s[edit]

Leicester Harmsworth
General Election 14 December 1918: Caithness and Sutherland

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Coalition Liberal Robert Leicester Harmsworth 6,749 N/A
Independent Francis John Robertson 4,036 N/A
Majority 2,733 N/A
Turnout N/A
Coalition Liberal win (new seat)

References[edit]

See also[edit]