Watford (UK Parliament constituency)

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Watford
Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Watford in Hertfordshire.
Outline map
Location of Hertfordshire within England.
County Hertfordshire
Electorate 80,939 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1885
Member of Parliament Richard Harrington (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Hertfordshire
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency East of England

Watford is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Richard Harrington, a member of the Conservative Party.[n 2]

History[edit]

Before the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire. Upon this act, it took up the western division of the county, however later seats such as South West Hertfordshire, established in 1950 have reduced its reach, as settlements in those areas, and Watford itself, have grown.

Political history

The seat has been a bellwether of the national result since February 1974. Watford saw considerable Liberal Democrat opposition in 2005, achieving second place, taking many Labour votes with the Conservative candidate close behind.[2]

Before the 2010 general election it was a three-way marginal seat in which local Tories, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats aimed to garner support for their candidate. This election in Watford was won by Richard Harrington (Con) with 34.9% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats narrowly missed out on the seat with 32.4% of the vote and the defeat for Labour's candidate, Claire Ward, was a pronounced change with 26.7% of the vote.[3]

Prominent frontbenchers

Dennis Herbert was Deputy Speaker from 1931-1943.

Major John Freeman was only a third-tier (junior) minister in the War Office as MP. His later unusually prominent positions in diplomacy led to his being appointed a member of the Privy Council and thereby being Rt Hon as of 1966.

Tristan Garel-Jones was Minister for Europe for three years of the Major ministry.

Both Herbert and Garel-Jones opted as peers in later life to use Watford as the territorial designation of their peerages.

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency comprises the whole of the Borough of Watford, together with five wards from Three Rivers District. Two of the Three Rivers wards, Carpenders Park and Oxhey Hall, are to the south of Watford town and include mostly prosperous, elevated, commuter villages. The remaining three, Abbots Langley, Langleybury and Leavesden, are to the north of Watford, the first of which is a large village, and due to its relative remoteness from the City of London is mixed in character and levels of income.[4]

The seat has electoral wards:

History of boundaries

Before 2010 the boundaries included just 20 electors of the Bedmond and Primrose Hill ward of Three Rivers, now united with their neighbours in the St Albans seat.[5]

Constituency profile[edit]

Watford has a considerable service sector economy, with several notable headquarters, and engineering, trade-craft and distribution in its economy, however is also a commuter town to the City of London. British Waterways, J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, Iveco, manufacturers of commercial vehicles; part of Balfour Beatty; Bathstore, the largest bathroom retailer in the UK; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare are the largest of these. The borough is also the UK base of many multinationals including C.H. Robinson, Total Oil, TK Maxx, Costco, Vinci and Beko appliances. International golf tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championship have taken place at the Grove hotel.

Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 3.0% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[6]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[7] Party Notes
1885 Frederick Halsey Conservative
1906 Nathaniel Micklem QC Liberal
1910 Arnold Sandwith Ward Conservative
1918 Dennis Herbert Conservative Deputy Speaker (1931-1943)
1943 by-election William Helmore Conservative
1945 Major John Freeman Labour High Commissioner to India (1965–1968) Ambassador to the U.S. (1969–1971)
1955 Frederick Farey-Jones Conservative
1964 Raphael Tuck Labour
1979 Tristan Garel-Jones Conservative Minister for Europe (1990-1993)
1997 Claire Ward Labour
2010 Richard Harrington Conservative

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Matthew Turmaine [8]
General Election 2010: Watford[9][10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Richard Harrington 19,291 34.9 +5.3
Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton[n 3] 17,866 32.4 +1.1
Labour Claire Ward 14,750 26.7 -6.8
BNP Andrew Emerson 1,217 2.2 +2.2
UKIP Graham Eardley 1,199 2.2 -0.4
Green Ian Brandon 885 1.6 -1.4
Majority 1,425 2.6
Turnout 55,208 68.3 +3.4
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
Background to Conservative and Green candidates

In July 2007 former candidate Ali Miraj, a candidate for Aberavon in 2001, was dropped from the candidates list by the Conservative party after he complained about David Cameron's leadership style and allegedly demanded a peerage.[12][13] The public selected his former campaign manager Ian Oakley, who had been a candidate for Newport East in 2001 in the first Open Primary to be organised by the Conservative Party in November 2006. In July 2008, Oakley, withdrew candidature after being arrested for conducting a campaign of harassment against the local Liberal Democrats,[14][15] for which he was convicted and given an 18 week suspended prison sentence and 12 month supervision order on 13 October 2008.[16]

In December 2008 Watford Conservative Association selected a new candidate, Richard Harrington.[17]

In August 2008, the Green Party selected Ian Brandon, a councillor of Hertfordshire County Council representing Callowland and Leggatts who finished in sixth and last position, among three parties to lose their deposits.[18][19]

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Claire Ward 16,575 33.6 −11.7
Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton 15,427 31.2 +13.8
Conservative Ali Miraj 14,634 29.6 −3.7
Green Steve Rackett 1,466 3.0 +1.1
UKIP Kenneth Wight 1,292 2.6 +1.4
Majority 1,148 2.3
Turnout 49,394 64.8 +3.7
Labour hold Swing -12.8
General Election 2001: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Claire Ward 20,992 45.3 N/A
Conservative Michael McManus 15,437 33.3 -1.5
Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames 8,088 17.4 +0.7
Green Denise Kingsley 900 1.9 N/A
UKIP Edmund Stewart-Mole 535 1.2 N/A
Socialist Alliance Jon Berry 420 0.9 N/A
Majority 5,555 12.0
Turnout 46,372 61.1 -13.5
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Claire Ward 25,109 45.3 +11.3
Conservative R Gordon 19,227 34.8 -13.3
Liberal Democrat A Canning 9,272 16.8 +0.0
Referendum Party P Roe 1,484 2.7 N/A
Natural Law L Davis 234 0.4 N/A
Majority 5,792 10.5
Turnout 55,236 74.6
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
General Election 1992: Watford[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 29,072 48.8 +0.1
Labour Michael J. Jackson 19,482 32.7 +4.5
Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten 10,231 17.2 −5.9
Green Jeremy Hywel-Davies 566 1.0 N/A
Natural Law Leslie Davis 176 0.3 N/A
Majority 9,590 16.1 −4.4
Turnout 59,527 82.3 +4.4
Conservative hold Swing −2.2

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 27,912 48.7
Labour Michael John Jackson 16,176 28.2
Social Democrat Fiona Mary Beckett 13,202 23.1
Majority 11,736 20.5
Turnout 77.9
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 26,273 47.95
Social Democrat P. Burton 14,267 26.04
Labour I. Wilson 14,247 26.00
Majority 12,006 21.91
Turnout 76.10
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Watford[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 21,320 47.64
Labour Tony Banks 18,030 40.28
Liberal B Bodle 5,019 11.21
National Front Brent Cheetham 388 0.87
Majority 3,290 7.35
Turnout 44,757 81.26
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
General Election October 1974: Watford [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Raphael Tuck 19,177 44.28
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 15,220 35.14
Liberal David Anthony Jacobs 8,243 19.03
National Front Jeremy Wotherspoon 671 1.55
Majority 3,957 9.14
Turnout 77.3
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Watford [23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Raphael Tuck 18,884 40.47
Conservative David W. Clarke 16,089 34.48
Liberal David Anthony Jacobs 11,035 23.65
National Front Jeremy Wotherspoon 651 1.4
Majority 2,795 5.99
Turnout 85
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1970: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Raphael Tuck 19,698 45.71
Conservative David W. Clarke 19,622 45.53
Liberal C.G. Watkins 3,778 8.77
Majority 76 0.18
Turnout 75.44
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Raphael Tuck 23,832 54.38
Conservative D.W. Charles 19,996 45.62
Majority 3,836 8.75
Turnout 82.87
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1964: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Raphael Tuck 20,224 45.18
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 18,744 41.87
Liberal M. Neilson 5,797 12.95
Majority 1,480 3.31
Turnout 83.61
Labour gain from Conservative Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 21,216 46.85
Labour R. Short 18,315 40.44
Liberal I.S. Steers 5,753 12.70
Majority 2,901 6.41
Turnout 84.82
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 22,546 51.98
Labour Ashley Bramall 20,829 48.02
Majority 1,717 3.96
Turnout 82.36
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
General Election 1951: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour John Freeman 22,370 47.90
Conservative S.W.L. Ripley 21,862 46.81
Majority 508 1.09
Turnout 87.18
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour John Freeman 21,759 47.36
Conservative M. Bemrose 20,302 44.19
Liberal H.B. Bush 3,879 8.44
Majority 1,457 3.17
Turnout 87.14
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour John Freeman 32,138 46.03
Conservative William Helmore 29,944 42.88
Liberal H.E.S. Harben 7,743 11.09
Majority 2,194 3.14
Turnout 73.40
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
Watford by-election 1943
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative William Helmore 13,839
Common Wealth Raymond Blackburn 11,838
Majority 2,001
Turnout 38.00
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1935: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Dennis Herbert 28,196 65.42
Labour S.W. Morgan 14,906 34.58
Majority 13,290 30.83
Turnout 63.55
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1931: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Dennis Herbert 34,076 78.34
Labour F.M. Jacques 9,423 21.66
Majority 24,653 56.67
Turnout 71.01
Conservative hold Swing
Margery Corbett Ashby
General Election 1924: Watford [24]

Electorate 38,169

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Dennis Henry Herbert 15,271 54.7
Labour Herbert Henry Elvin 7,417 26.6
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 5,205 18.7
Majority 7,854 28.1
Turnout 73.1
Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: Watford[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Nathaniel Micklem 7,613 55.4
Conservative Sir Frederick Halsey 6,136 44.6
Majority 1,476 10.8 N/A
Turnout
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1900: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Frederick Halsey unopposed N/A N/A
Conservative hold Swing

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. ^ Candidate in the 2005 and 2010 elections, appointed to the House of Lords as Baroness Brinton, November 2010.[11]
References
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Deborah McGurran (15 May 2009). "First electoral test for councils". BBC News. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  3. ^ 2010 election result
  4. ^ 2011 Census
  5. ^ a b 2010 post-revision map non-metropolitan areas and unitary authorities of England
  6. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  7. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  8. ^ http://www.labour.org.uk/candidates
  9. ^ Watford, UKPollingReport
  10. ^ Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll - Parliamentary Election 6 May 2010 : Watford Council
  11. ^ Bowcott, Owen (19 November 2010). "Party donors and political apparatchiks appointed working peers". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  12. ^ BBC: Cameron critic axed as MP hopeful
  13. ^ Channel 4 News interview transcript
  14. ^ Telegraph: Arrested Conservative candidate for Watford stands down
  15. ^ Police charge Oakley
  16. ^ Watford Observer - Tory Oakley escapes jail
  17. ^ Harrison, John (2008-12-17). "Tory candidate: 'I'm confident of victory'". Watford Observer. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  18. ^ "Division Summary for Callowland Leggatts (65)". Hertfordshire County Council. 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Watford". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  20. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  21. ^ http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge79/i20.htm
  22. ^ http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/ge74b/i20.htm
  23. ^ http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/ge74a/i20.htm
  24. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, F W S Craig
  25. ^ The Times, 25 January 1906

Coordinates: 51°39′N 0°24′W / 51.650°N 0.400°W / 51.650; -0.400