Tunbridge Wells (UK Parliament constituency)

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Tunbridge Wells
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Tunbridge Wells in Kent.
Outline map
Location of Kent within England.
County Kent
Electorate 73,028 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Tunbridge Wells and Paddock Wood
Current constituency
Created 1974 (1974)
Member of parliament Greg Clark (Conservative)
Number of members One
European Parliament constituency South East England

Tunbridge Wells is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Greg Clark, a Conservative.[n 2]


The constituency occupies rural and two largely spacious urban towns in Kent in south eastern England, covering the area of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells, the main town of which is also known as Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Boundary review[edit]

Parliament accepted the Boundary Commission's Fifth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies which slightly altered this constituency for the 2010 general election since which it has electoral wards:

  • Brenchley and Horsmonden, Broadwater, Capel, Culverden, Goudhurst and Lamberhurst, Hawkhurst and Sandhurst, Paddock Wood East, Paddock Wood West, Pantiles and St Mark’s, Park, Pembury, Rusthall, St James’, St John’s, Sherwood, Southborough and High Brooms, Southborough North, and Speldhurst and Bidborough[2]


The constituency was created in 1974 from parts of the seats of Tonbridge and Ashford, and was originally named "Royal Tunbridge Wells". It consisted of the following areas of the administrative county of Kent:

  • The borough of Tunbridge Wells;
  • The urban district of Southborough;
  • The rural district of Cranbrook;
  • Part of the rural district of Tonbridge (the parishes of Bidborough, Brenchley, Capel, Horsmonden, Lamberhurst, Paddock Wood, Pembury and Speldhurst)[3]

Except for Cranbrook Rural District (previously part of the Ashford constituency) the area had formed part of the constituency of Tonbridge prior to 1974.

In 1983 its "Royal" prefix was removed and the boundaries of the constituency were realigned to coincide with the Borough of Tunbridge Wells created by the Local Government Act 1972.[4]

Political history

The results since the 1974 creation indicate a Conservative safe seat. In 1994 the Conservative group in the council lost control but regained it in 1998.

Prominent frontbenchers

In succession from 1983 until 1997 Patrick Mayhew reached three leading positions: Solicitor General for England and Wales, Attorney General for England and Wales and for Northern Ireland (simultaneously) and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Archie Norman was the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions (2002-2005).

The present member, Greg Clark, was Minister for Decentralisation from the start of the Cameron ministry and then two years later became Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Constituency profile[edit]

The area is still largely rural in character and landscape, enjoying a gently elevated position which is traversed by the High Weald Landscape Trail. The area has local service sector and financial sector employers, light engineering combined with being substantially a commuter belt town for London and to an extent businesses on the southern side of the M25, such as in the Gatwick Diamond.

Workless claimants, registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.7% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[5]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[6] Party
Feb. 1974 Patrick Mayhew Conservative
1997 Archie Norman Conservative
2005 Greg Clark Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Tunbridge Wells[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Graham Naismith[8]
Conservative Greg Clark
Green Marie Jones
Labour Kevin Kerrigan
Liberal Democrat James McCleary[9] (James MacCleary[10])
UKIP Colin Nicholson[11]
General Election 2010: Tunbridge Wells[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Greg Clark 28,302 56.2 +5.5
Liberal Democrat David Hallas 12,726 25.3 +0
Labour Gary Heather 5,448 10.8 −9.6
UKIP Victor Webb 2,054 4.1 +0.6
Green Hazel Dawe 914 1.8 +1.8
BNP Andrew McBride[13] 704 1.4 +1.4
Independent Farel Bradbury 172 0.3 +0.3
Majority 15,576 31.0
Turnout 50,320 69.8 +3.9
Conservative hold Swing +2.8

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Greg Clark 21,083 49.6 +0.7
Liberal Democrat Laura Murphy 11,095 26.1 +1.4
Labour Jacqui Jedrzejewski 8,736 20.6 −2.6
UKIP Victor Webb 1,568 3.7 +0.4
Majority 9,988 23.5
Turnout 42,482 65.7 3.4
Conservative hold Swing +0.3
General Election 2001: Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Archie Norman 19,643 48.9 +3.7
Liberal Democrat Keith Brown 9,913 24.7 −5.0
Labour Ian Carvell 9,332 23.2 +2.8
UKIP Victor Webb 1,313 3.3 +2.7
Majority 9,730 24.2
Turnout 40,201 62.3 −11.8
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Archie Norman 21,853 45.19
Liberal Democrat AS Clayton 14,347 29.67
Labour P Warner 9,879 20.43
Referendum Party T Macpherson 1,858 3.84
UKIP M Smart 264 0.55
Natural Law P Levy 153 0.32
Majority 7,506 15.52
Turnout 74.10
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1992: Tunbridge Wells[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 34,162 56.9 −1.5
Liberal Democrat AS Clayton 17,030 28.4 −1.6
Labour EAC Goodman 8,300 13.8 +2.3
Natural Law EW Fenna 267 0.4 N/A
Independent R Edey 236 0.4 N/A
Majority 17,132 28.6 +0.1
Turnout 59,995 78.1 +3.8
Conservative hold Swing +0.0

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 33,111 58.44
Liberal DA Buckrell 16,989 29,99
Labour PL Sloman 6,555 11.57
Majority 16,122 28.46
Turnout 74.26
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 31,199 58.26
Liberal P Blaine 16,073 30.01
Labour SJ Casely 6,042 11.28
National Front D Smith 236 0.44
Majority 15,126 28.25
Turnout 72.66
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Royal Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 31,928 59.54
Labour AAJ Bartlett 11,392 21.24
Liberal R Baker 9,797 18.27
National Front W Standen 509 0.95
Majority 20,536 38.29
Turnout 74.66
Conservative hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Royal Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 24,829 49.53
Liberal DC Owens 12,802 25.54
Labour RC Blackwell 12,499 24.93
Majority 12,027 23.99
Turnout 72.51
Conservative hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Royal Tunbridge Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Patrick Mayhew 27,212 49.36
Liberal DC Owens 16,184 29.36
Labour MF Short 11,734 21.28
Majority 11,028 20.00
Turnout 80.38
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.

Coordinates: 51°7′N 0°20′E / 51.117°N 0.333°E / 51.117; 0.333