Christchurch (UK Parliament constituency)

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County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Christchurch in Dorset.
Outline map
Location of Dorset within England.
County 1983– Dorset
1572–1918: Hampshire
Electorate 69,008 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Christchurch
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of Parliament Christopher Chope (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Christchurch and Lymington, North Dorset, New Forest
Number of members 1572–1832: Two
1832–1918: One
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by New Forest and Christchurch
European Parliament constituency South West England

Christchurch is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1997 by Christopher Chope of the Conservative Party. Centred on the town of the same name in Dorset that has a non-commercial harbour it includes the small resort of Mudeford, Ferndown, West Moors, Verwood, St Leonards and station-served woodside settlement of Highcliffe and has been a Conservative safe seat since 1997.[n 2]


The original Christchurch constituency, a parliamentary borough, existed from 1572 until 1918.

The constituency was re-created as a county constituency in 1983 from parts of the seat of Christchurch and Lymington, North Dorset and New Forest. It has since 1983 seen strong Conservative majorities, with the exception of a 1993 by-election caused by the death of Robert Adley when it was won by Diana Maddock a Liberal Democrat. The Conservatives regained the seat at the next general election in 1997, despite their landslide defeat nationally and Chris Chope has retained it ever since.


The current boundaries includes Verwood and Three Legged Cross, West Moors, St Leonards and St Ives, Ferndown and West Parley, as well as the Borough of Christchurch.

The Boundary Commission for England's Fifth Report, laid before Parliament on 26 February 2007 was not implemented due to options in that instead keeping Verwood and Three Legged Cross to the North Dorset constituency and in not exchanging larger Longham and Stapehill.

Constituency profile[edit]

The area is not as rural as the adjoining New Forest constituencies, nor as urban as Bournemouth and Poole, and contains a mixed assortment of coastal retirement havens, outlying Bournemouth suburbs and the town of Christchurch itself which has expanded to include dedicated villages of sheltered housing on its outskirts.

Consequently, the present Christchurch seat contains one of the most elderly electorates in the country - only Eastbourne and Devon East have an older average voter age and Christchurch has the highest proportion of over-60s of all UK seats. Having recovered from an early-1990s by-election loss, it is a safe Conservative seat, with MP Christopher Chope attaining a majority of over 30% at the last general election. It is the safest Tory seat in the South West and on most analyses is on the fringe of the area that usually qualifies as the South West, served by a station with direct links to the capital and closest to London.

Bournemouth airport is located within the seat.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Parliamentary borough (1572–1918)[edit]

MPs 1571–1640[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
Parliament of 1571 Andrew Rogers John Hyett
Parliament of 1572-1581 Henry Knollys Matthew Evans
Parliament of 1584-1585 Alexander Nevill
Parliament of 1586-1587 Henry Ashley
Parliament of 1588-1589 Justinian Champernoun Sampson Lennard
Parliament of 1593 John Herbert John Agmondesham[2]
Parliament of 1597-1598 Simon Willis Andrew Rogers
Parliament of 1601 Henry Meere
Parliament of 1604-1611 Richard Martin Nicholas Hyde
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir Thomas Norton Henry Breton
Parliament of 1621-1622 Sir George Hastings Nathaniel Tomkins
Happy Parliament (1624-1625) Sir George Astmyll
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Thomas Wilford
Parliament of 1625-1626 Robert Norton
Parliament of 1628-1629 Henry Croke
No Parliament summoned 1629-1640

MPs 1640–1832[edit]

Year First member[3] First party Second member[3] Second party
April 1640 Arnold Herbert Henry Tulse
November 1640 Matthew Davis Royalist
1642 Tulse died September(?) 1642 - seat left vacant
March 1643 Davis disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 Richard Edwards Parliamentarian John Kempe Parliamentarian
December 1648 Kempe not recorded as sitting after Pride's Purge
1653 Christchurch was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 John Bulkeley Henry Tulse
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
March 1660 John Hildesley Henry Tulse
1661 Humphrey Weld
February 1679 Sir Thomas Clarges
August 1679 George Fulford
1685 Anthony Ettrick
1689 Francis Gwyn William Ettrick
1695 Viscount Cornbury
1701 Francis Gwyn
1710 (Sir) Peter Mews[4]
1717 Francis Gwyn[5]
1724 by-election Edward Prideaux Gwyn
1726 by-election Jacob Banks
1727 Joseph Hinxman Charles Wither
1732 by-election Philip Lloyd
1734 Edward Hooper
1740 by-election (Sir) Charles Armand Powlett[6]
1748 by-election Sir Thomas Robinson
1751 by-election Harry Powlett
1754 Hon. John Mordaunt
1761 Hon. Thomas Robinson James Harris Whig
Nov,mber 1770 by-election James Harris (junior) Whig
1774 Hon. Thomas Villiers Hyde[7] Tory
1780 Sir James Harris Whig
1781 by-election (Sir) John Frederick[8]
1788 by-election Hans Sloane Tory
1790 George Rose
1796 William Stewart Rose
May 1800 by-election William Chamberlayne
1802 William Sturges Bourne Tory
1812 William Edward Tomline
March 1818 by-election Sir George Henry Rose Tory
June 1818 William Sturges Bourne Tory
1826 George Pitt Rose
1832 Representation reduced to one member

MPs 1832–1918[edit]

Election Member[3] Party
1832 Sir George William Tapps-Gervis, Bt Conservative
1837 Sir George Henry Rose Conservative
1844 by-election Hon. Edward Harris Conservative
1852 John Edward Walcott Conservative
1868 Edmund Haviland-Burke Liberal
1874 Sir Henry Drummond Wolff Conservative
1880 Horace Davey Liberal
1885 Charles Edward Baring Young Conservative
1892 Abel Henry Smith Conservative
1900 Kenneth Robert Balfour Conservative
1906 Arthur Acland Allen Liberal
1910 Henry Page Croft Conservative
1917 National
1918 constituency abolished: see Bournemouth & New Forest and Christchurch

County constituency[edit]

MPs since 1983[edit]

Election Member[3] Party
1983 Robert Adley Conservative
1993 by-election Diana Maddock Liberal Democrat
1997 Christopher Chope Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2010: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Christopher Chope 27,888 56.4 +1.1
Liberal Democrat Martyn Hurll 12,478 25.3 +1.2
Labour Robert Deeks 4,849 9.8 -5.8
UKIP David Williams 4,201 8.5 +3.4
Majority 15,410 31.2
Turnout 49,416 71.8 +1.4
Conservative hold Swing +1.4

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Christopher Chope 28,208 54.7 −0.4
Liberal Democrat Leslie Coman 12,649 24.5 −3.3
Labour Jim King 8,051 15.6 +0.5
UKIP David Hughes 2,657 5.2 +3.2
Majority 15,559 30.2
Turnout 51,565 69.6 +2.1
Conservative hold Swing +1.4
General Election 2001: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Christopher Chope 27,306 55.1 +8.7
Liberal Democrat Dorothy Webb 13,762 27.8 -14.8
Labour Judith Begg 7,506 15.1 +8.2
UKIP Margaret Strange 993 2.0 +0.9
Majority 13,544 27.3
Turnout 49,567 67.5 -11.0
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Christopher Chope 26,095 46.43
Liberal Democrat Diana Maddock 23,930 42.58
Labour Charles Mannan 3,884 6.91
Referendum Party Ray Spencer 1,684 3.0
UKIP R.H. Dickinson 606 1.08
Majority 2,165 3.85
Turnout 71,566 78.53
Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat Swing 18.30
Christchurch by-election, 1993
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Diana Maddock 33,164 62.2 +38.6
Conservative Robert Hayward 16,737 31.4 -32.2
Labour Nigel Lickley 1,453 2.7 -9.4
Anti-Federalist League Alan Sked 878 1.6
Monster Raving Loony David Sutch 404 0.8
Independent Conservative Andrew Bannon 357 0.7
Sack Graham Taylor Peter Newman 80 0.2
Buy the Daily Sport Tara Bardot-Jackson 67 0.1
Save the National Health Service Peter A. Hollyman 60 0.1
Highlander IV Wednesday Promotion John Crockard 48 0.1
Natural Law Mark Griffiths 45 0.1 -0.3
Ian For King Mark Belcher 23 0.0
Alfred The Chicken Karl Fitzhugh 18 0.0
Rainbow Alliance John Walley 16 0.0
Majority 16,427 30.8
Turnout 74.2
Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative Swing 35.4
General Election 1992: Christchurch[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Adley 36,627 63.5 −2.4
Liberal Democrat Rev. Dennis Bussey 13,612 23.6 −0.9
Labour Alan Lloyd 6,997 12.1 +2.6
Natural Law James T. Barratt 243 0.4 N/A
Chauvinist Raving Alliance Adrian D. Wareham 175 0.3 N/A
Majority 23,015 39.9 −1.4
Turnout 57,654 80.7 +4.4
Conservative hold Swing −0.7

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Adley 35,656 65.89
SDP–Liberal Alliance Miss H.J. McKenzie 13,282 24.55
Labour Ms. C.E. Longhurst 5,174 9.56
Majority 22,374 41.35
Turnout 76.25
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Christchurch
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Adley 31,722 67.07
SDP–Liberal Alliance S Alexander 11,984 25.34
Labour John Mitchell 3,590 7.59
Majority 19,738 41.73
Turnout 72.22
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

A.A. Allen
General Election 1906[10]

Electorate 9,530

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Arthur Acland Allen 4,634 53.3 +3.4
Conservative Kenneth Robert Balfour 4,067 46.7 -3.4
Majority 567 6.6 6.8
Turnout 91.3 +7.4
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +3.4

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ A county constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 4)[self-published source][better source needed]
  4. ^ Knighted July 1712
  5. ^ Gwyn was re-elected in 1722, but had also been elected for Wells, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Christchurch
  6. ^ Knighted (KB), 1749
  7. ^ Styled Lord Hyde from June 1776
  8. ^ Succeeded to a baronetcy, April 1783
  9. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  10. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)


  • The BBC/ITN Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies (Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services, 1983)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) [1]
  • 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) [2]
  • 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)
  • J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 .... London. p. 1. 
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)