Torridge and West Devon (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 50°42′54″N 4°15′47″W / 50.715°N 4.263°W / 50.715; -4.263

Torridge and West Devon
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Torridge and West Devon in Devon.
Outline map
Location of Devon within England.
County Devon
Electorate 77,417 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Bideford, Great Torrington, Holsworthy and Tavistock
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of parliament Geoffrey Cox (Conservative)
Number of members One
European Parliament constituency South West England

Torridge and West Devon is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Geoffrey Cox, a Conservative.[n 2]


1983-1997: The District of Torridge; and the Borough of West Devon.

1997-2010: The District of Torridge; and the Borough of West Devon wards of Bere Ferrers, Bridestowe, Burrator, Chagford, Courtenay, Drewsteignton, Exbourne, Hatherleigh, Lew Valley, Lydford, Mary Tavy, Milton Ford, North Tawton, Okehampton, South Tawton, Tamarside, Tavistock North, Tavistock South, Thrushel, and Walkham.

2010-present: The District of Torridge; and the Borough of West Devon wards of Bere Ferrers, Bridestowe, Buckland Monachorum, Burrator, Lydford, Mary Tavy, Milton Ford, Tamarside, Tavistock North, Tavistock South, Tavistock South West, Thrushel, and Walkham.

Before the 2010 general election, the constituency comprised Torridge District and almost all of West Devon District.[n 3] However, when the number of seats in the county rose from 11 to 12, the town of Okehampton and scattered small settlements surrounding it transferred to the new Central Devon seat.[2]


The constituency was created in 1983, largely from the abolished West Devon seat, but with additions then and later from North Devon which was formed in 1950.

Political history

The seat unusually saw its second member, who attained the second absolute majority in its history, a Conservative, defect or "cross the floor" in 1995 to the Liberal Democrats (Emma Nicholson) — she was appointed for the subsequent election to the Lords.

The seat was then won by that party's candidate for the next Parliament John Burnett (LD). He also was elevated to a peerage, and in losing incumbency, the seat yielded to Geoffrey Cox who attained a majority of 3,236 votes in 2005. In 2010 he won with a majority of 2,957, boundary changes making the reduced majority notionally a 0.2% swing from the Liberal Democrats -compared with a 2.3% swing between the two parties nationally.

Constituency profile[edit]

The economy of the area is dominated by sectors such as agriculture, food processing, defence, hospitality, construction, maintenance and engineering and from Bideford and Northam a small amount of fishing; it also includes tourism, such as the island of Lundy, and sandy resort of Westward Ho!, to the small, centrally pedestrianised, cobbled, museum-dotted village of Clovelly. Great Torrington and Buckland Monachorum are among the archetypal rural villages, in an area with tranquil retreats, relatively close to the edge of Dartmoor.

Workless claimants, registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 2.5% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[3]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[4] Party
1983 Peter Mills Conservative
1987 Emma Nicholson Conservative
1995 Liberal Democrat
1997 John Burnett Liberal Democrat
2005 Geoffrey Cox Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Torridge and West Devon [5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Cox[6]
Liberal Democrat Paula Dolphin[7]
Green Cathrine Simmons[8]
Labour Mike Sparling

General Election 2010: Torridge and West Devon[9][10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Cox 25,230 45.7 +3.4
Liberal Democrat Adam Symons 22,273 40.3 +3.4
UKIP Robin Julian 3,021 5.5 -0.9
Labour Darren Jones 2,917 5.3 -5.3
Green Cathrine Simmons 1,050 1.9 -2.0
BNP Nick Baker 766 1.4 +1.4
Majority 2,957 5.4
Turnout 55,257 71.4 +0.2
Conservative hold Swing 0.0

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Torridge and West Devon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Cox 25,013 42.7 +2.7
Liberal Democrat David Walter 21,777 37.2 -5.0
Labour Rebecca Richards 6,001 10.2 -0.5
UKIP Matthew Jackson 3,790 6.5 +1.7
Green Peter Christie 2,003 3.4 +1.1
Majority 3,236 5.5
Turnout 58,584 70.2 -0.3
Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat Swing +3.9
General Election 2001: Torridge and West Devon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat John Burnett 23,474 42.2 +0.3
Conservative Geoffrey Cox 22,280 40.0 +1.5
Labour David Brenton 5,959 10.7 -1.7
UKIP Bob Edwards 2,674 4.8 +1.7
Green Martin Quinn 1,297 2.3 N/A
Majority 1,194 2.2
Turnout 55,684 70.5 -7.4
Liberal Democrat hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Torridge and West Devon[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat John Burnett 24,744 41.84
Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger 22,787 38.53
Labour David Brenton 7,319 12.38
Referendum Party Roger Lea 1,946 3.29
UKIP Matthew Jackson 1,841 3.11
Liberal Michael Pithouse 508 0.86
Majority 1,957 3.31
Turnout 59,148 77.91
Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative Swing
General Election 1992: Torridge and West Devon[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Emma Nicholson 29,627 47.3 −3.0
Liberal Democrat DI McBride 26,013 41.5 +2.3
Labour David Brenton 5,997 9.6 +1.1
Green F Williamson 898 1.4 −0.6
Natural Law DH Collins 141 0.2 +0.2
Majority 3,614 5.8 −5.3
Turnout 62,676 81.5 +2.8
Conservative hold Swing −2.6

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Torridge and West Devon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Emma Nicholson 29,484 50.26
Liberal John Burnett 23,016 39.24
Labour David Brenton 4,990 8.51
Green F. Williamson 1,168 1.99
Majority 6,468 11.03
Turnout 78.68
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Torridge and West
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Peter Mills 31,156 58.00
Liberal V. Howell 18,805 35.00
Labour W.A. Tupman 3,531 6.57
Independent M.J. Beale 116 0.22
Wessex Regionalist Henrietta Rous 113 0.21
Majority 12,351 22.99
Turnout 76.04
Conservative hold Swing

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.
  3. ^ Excepted were Buckland Monachorum and a small part of Walkham, before 2010 in the South West Devon seat, in West Devon. The combined electorate of these was stated in 2007 to be 2,874.