Wealden (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 50°59′56″N 0°12′43″E / 50.999°N 0.212°E / 50.999; 0.212

County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Wealden in East Sussex.
Outline map
Location of East Sussex within England.
County East Sussex
Electorate 77,536 (December 2010)
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of parliament Charles Hendry (Conservative)
European Parliament constituency South East England

Wealden is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2001 by Charles Hendry, a Conservative.[n 2]


This seat was created in the third periodic review of constituencies in 1983, from a mixture of the previous Mid and Northern divisions of the county (also known as Lewes and East Grinstead).

Political history

The seat's history is that of a safe Conservative seat. The Liberal Democrats including their two predecessor parties have so far always presented the main opposition candidate. The best result for the Labour Party was in 2001, however was 29.5% below the share of the vote taken by the winner. Closest in percentage majority was the election of 1997 with a majority of 24% of the vote, still more than a marginal gap separated the two main local parties.

Prominent frontbenchers

Locally born Charles Hendry served as a Minister of State in the Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2010-2012 following two years in the shadow role in opposition.


Approximately half of the population in the constituency lives in the area’s three main towns: Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield. The rest of the seat is predominantly rural and has many small towns, villages and hamlets. The Wealden landscape is varied, ranging from the Ashdown Forest in the north to the South Downs and the coastal part is included in seats to the south.

The constituency covers much of the Wealden district of East Sussex. However, some of the district in the south falls into the constituencies of Lewes, Bexhill and Battle and Eastbourne.

History of boundaries

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:

  • Buxted and Maresfield; Chiddingly and East Hoathly; Crowborough: East, Jarvis Brook, North, St Johns and, West wards; Danehill/Fletching/Nutley; Forest Row; Framfield; Frant/Withyham; Hailsham: Central and North, East, and South and West wards; Hartfield; Hellingly; Horam; Mayfield; Rotherfield; Uckfield: Central, New Town, North and Ridgewood wards; and Wadhurst in the Wealden District.[1]

Constituency profile[edit]

A considerable portion of the population is retired or work in London, Brighton or other regional employment bases at a managerial or advanced professional level. Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.5% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[2]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[3] Party
1983 Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith Conservative
2001 Charles Hendry Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Wealden [4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Solomon Curtis[5]
Conservative Nusrat Ghani
Liberal Democrat Giles Goodall
UKIP Peter Griffiths[6]
Green Mark Smith [7]
General Election 2010: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Charles Hendry 31,090 56.6 +6.1
Liberal Democrat Chris Bowers 13,911 25.3 +0.6
Labour Lorna Blackmore 5,266 9.6 -7.1
UKIP Dan Docker 3,319 6.0 +2.2
Green David Jonas 1,383 2.5 -1.8
Majority 17,179 31.3
Turnout 54,969 71.8 +5.5
Conservative hold Swing +2.8%

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Charles Hendry 28,975 52.1 +2.3
Liberal Democrat Christopher Wigley 13,054 23.5 -0.2
Labour Dudley Rose 9,360 16.8 -3.5
Green Julian Salmon 2,150 3.9 +1.5
UKIP Keith Riddle 2,114 3.8 +0.9
Majority 15,921 28.6
Turnout 55,653 67.7 4.2
Conservative hold Swing +1.3
General Election 2001: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Charles Hendry 26,279 49.8 0.0
Liberal Democrat Steve Murphy 12,507 23.7 -2.0
Labour Kathy Fordham 10,705 20.3 +3.1
UKIP Keith Riddle 1,538 2.9 +2.0
Green Julian Salmon 1,273 2.4 N/A
Pensioner Coalition Cyril Thornton 453 0.9 N/A
Majority 13,772 26.1
Turnout 52,756 63.5 -10.2
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Johnson Smith 29,417 49.8 -12.0
Liberal Democrat Michael Skinner 15,213 25.7 -1.3
Labour Nicholas Levine 10,185 17.2 +8.0
Referendum Party Barry Taplin 3,527 6.0 N/A
UKIP M J English 569 0.9 N/A
Natural Law Paul Cragg 188 0.3
Majority 14,204 24.0
Turnout 59,099 73.7
Conservative hold Swing

This constituency underwent boundary changes between the 1992 and 1997 general elections and thus change in share of vote is based on a notional calculation.

General Election 1992: Wealden[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Johnson Smith 37,263 61.7 -2.5
Liberal Democrat Michael Skinner 16,332 27.1 -0.4
Labour Steve Billcliffe 5,579 9.2 +0.9
Green Ian Guy-Moore 1,002 1.7 N/A
Natural Law R F Graham 182 0.3 N/A
Majority 20,931 34.6 −2.1
Turnout 60,358 81.0 +6.0
Conservative hold Swing −1.1

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Johnson Smith 35,154 64.2 0.0
Social Democratic D A Sinclair 15,044 27.5 -2.1
Labour C E Ward 4,563 8.3 +2.1
Majority 20,110 36.7
Turnout 54,761 75.0 +3.2
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Wealden
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Geoffrey Johnson Smith 31,926 64.2
Social Democratic D E Pace 14,741 29.6
Labour Patricia Knight 3,060 6.2
Majority 17,185 34.6
Turnout 49,727 71.8

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.