Warrington South (UK Parliament constituency)

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Warrington South
Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Warrington South in Cheshire.
Outline map
Location of Cheshire within England.
County Cheshire
Electorate 81,212 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of Parliament David Mowat (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Warrington, Runcorn
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency North West England

Warrington South is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by David Mowat, a Conservative.[n 2]

Boundaries[edit]

Overview[edit]

The constituency is one of two covering the unitary authority of Warrington, Cheshire, the other being Warrington North. It covers the parts of the town lying south of the River Mersey, including Appleton, Grappenhall and Stockton Heath, the town centre and the Penketh and Sankey areas in the west of the town. It also includes the village of Lymm and has electoral wards:

  • Appleton; Bewsey & Whitecross; Grappenhall & Thelwall; Great Sankey: North and South wards; Halton, Stretton & Walton; Latchford: East and West wards; Lymm; Penketh & Cuerdley; Stockton Heath; and Whittle Hall[2]

Forerunners[edit]

The constituency was created in 1983 before which the Warrington constituency covered the central part of the town and its immediate surrounds, while the southern fringes were in the Runcorn constituency and certain close northern settlements now in Warrington North were covered by the Newton constituency.

1997–2005[edit]

The original boundaries were revised at the 1997 general election, the Fourth Periodic Review nationally, when the number of constituencies in Cheshire were increased and the new Weaver Vale seat was created.

2010–present[edit]

The current boundaries were introduced at the 2010 general election, the Fifth Periodic Review, and involved the reuniting of previously split council wards. The inner wards of Bewsey & Whitecross and Fairfield & Howley, were reunited, with the former being put into the Warrington South seat and the latter being moved to the North. The fast-growing Whittle Hall ward in the west of the town was also reunited and placed into Warrington South.

The new boundaries were considered to be slightly more favourable to the Labour party according to an academic, non-partisan election analysis.[3]

Proposed revisions for 2015 election[edit]

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 required the Boundary Commission to redraw the existing Parliamentary constituency boundaries to ensure that all constituencies had an electorate within a certain range. This required the extensive redrawing of boundaries across England which, while respecting where possible the status quo, no longer had to show adherence to current intra-county boundaries.

In Autumn 2011, the Commission published its proposals for a new "Warrington South" constituency. The proposal would have split the existing constituency between three constituencies loosely based on the existing seats of Warrington South, Warrington North and Halton. Wards from the edge of Runcorn, within the existing Weaver Vale constituency would have been brought into Warrington South,[4] whilst Whittle Hall and the Great Sankey wards would have been moved to the North.[5] The Penketh & Cuerdley ward would have been moved into a new "Widnes & Runcorn" seat.[6]

After an extensive consultation, the Commission revised its initial proposal and published a revised proposal which would see the Warrington South seat remain largely unchanged, although it would extend slightly further west than current to include a ward on the edge of Widnes.[7]

The new boundaries will not come into force before the 2015 election as Liberal Democrat MPs refused to support their implementation during an enabling vote in the House of Commons.

History[edit]

Political history

Warrington South is considered the more volatile of the two Warrington seats. While Warrington North is a safe seat for the Labour Party, Warrington South is often a bellwether and is regarded as a "marginal" constituency (a term which derives from marginal, insecure majorities) and it has been won by the largest party in each Parliament at every election with the exception of 1992, when it was taken by Labour's Mike Hall. Hall moved to the new Weaver Vale seat in 1997, but the seat was retained for the Labour party by Helen Southworth who represented the seat until her retirement at the 2010 election and successor candidate's defeat.

Prominent frontbenchers

Despite its short history, this seat was served by a former Secretary of State for Education during part of the Thatcher ministry, Mark Carlisle, who before the seat's creation had represented Runcorn.

2010 election[edit]

On 15 June 2009, Helen Southworth announced her intention to retire the next year. Largely because of its close result in 2005, the seat was considered to be one of the key seats which the Conservative Party would have to win to become the largest party in Parliament. The BBC ranked Warrington South as the 85th most marginal seat.[8]

The Liberal Democrats had also identified Warrington South as a target seat. On election day the Liberal Democrat party held 22 of the 30 Borough Council seats in the wards which made up the constituency.[9] The importance of the Warrington South seat was underlined when Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat party leader, chose to visit the constituency the morning after the first of the televised "leaders' debates", which he had been widely perceived as having won.[10]

While all three parties made strenuous efforts to win the seat, it was the Conservative candidate David Mowat who was elected, although fewer than 5,000 votes separated all three parties.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[11] Party
1983 Mark Carlisle Conservative
1987 Chris Butler Conservative
1992 Mike Hall Labour
1997 Helen Southworth Labour
2010 David Mowat Conservative

Constituency profile[edit]

Warrington is a historic and industrious town which grew significantly in economy and in population in the 20th century. Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 3.3% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian. This contrasted with Warrington North at 4.3% of its population.[12]

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2010: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Mowat 19,641 35.8 +3.7
Labour Nick Bent 18,088 33.0 −8.3
Liberal Democrat Jo Crotty 15,094 27.5 +3.5
UKIP Derek Ashington 1,624 3.0 +1.2
Green Stephanie Davies 427 0.8 +0.8
Majority 1,553 2.8
Turnout 54,874 68.2 +6.7
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +6.0

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Helen Southworth 18,972 40.5 −8.8
Conservative Fiona Bruce 15,457 33.0 0.0
Liberal Democrat Ian Marks 11,111 23.7 +7.4
UKIP Gerry Kelley 804 1.7 +0.3
Independent Paul Kennedy[n 3] 453 1.0 +1.0
Majority 3,515 7.5
Turnout 46,797 61.8 0.6
Labour hold Swing −4.4
General Election 2001: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Helen Southworth 22,419 49.3 −2.9
Conservative Caroline Mosley 15,022 33.0 +0.5
Liberal Democrat Roger J. Barlow 7,419 16.3 +3.2
UKIP Joan Kelley 637 1.4
Majority 7,397 16.3
Turnout 45,497 61.2
Labour hold Swing −1.7

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Helen Southworth 28,721 52.1
Conservative Chris Grayling 17,914 32.5
Liberal Democrat Peter Walker 7,199 13.1
Referendum Party Gerald Kelly 1,082 2.0
Natural Law Steve Ross 166 0.3
Majority 10,807 19.6
Turnout 55,082 76.0
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1992: Warrington South[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Mike Hall 27,819 43.6 +7.8
Conservative Chris Butler 27,628 43.3 +1.4
Liberal Democrat Peter J. Walker 7,978 12.5 −9.7
Natural Law Stephen D. Benson 321 0.5 N/A
Majority 191 0.3 −5.8
Turnout 63,746 82.0 +2.4
Labour gain from Conservative Swing +3.2

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Chris Butler 24,809 42.0 +0.1
Labour Albert Booth 21,200 35.9 +5.9
Liberal Ian G. Marks 13,112 22.2 −5.1
Majority 3,609 6.1
Turnout 59,121 75.2
Conservative hold Swing −2.9
General Election 1983: Warrington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Carlisle 22,740 41.9 N/A
Labour Dr D.G. Colin-Thomé 16,275 30.0 N/A
Liberal Ian G. Marks 14,827 27.3 N/A
Ecology N. Chantrell 403 0.7 N/A
Majority 6,465 11.9 N/A
Turnout 54,245 74.5 N/A
Conservative win (new seat)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ A borough 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. ^ Later, in 2006 Paul Kennedy joined the Conservative Party and became a local councillor in May 2008.
References

Coordinates: 53°22′N 2°33′W / 53.367°N 2.550°W / 53.367; -2.550