Wells (UK Parliament constituency)

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Wells
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Wells in Somerset.
Outline map
Location of Somerset within England.
County Somerset
Electorate 79,989 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1885
Member of Parliament Tessa Jane Munt (Liberal Democrat)
Number of members One
1295–1868
Number of members Two
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency South West England

Wells is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Tessa Munt, a Liberal Democrat.[n 2]

2015 General Election[edit]

The Wells Constituency will next be contested in the UK General Election to be held on Thursday 7th May 2015. Candidates already selected to contest the seat are the incumbent MP, Tessa Munt (Liberal Democrats), James Heappey (Conservatives), Chris Inchley (Labour) and Jake Baynes (UK Independence Party).[2][3][4]

History[edit]

The original two-member borough constituency was created in 1295, and abolished by the Reform Act 1867 with effect from the 1868 general election. Its revival saw a more comparable size of electorate across the country and across Somerset, with a large swathe of the county covered by this new seat, under the plans of the third Reform Act and the connected Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 which was enacted the following year.

Political history

The seat was largely Conservative-held during the 20th century and has not seen a Labour MP in its history. The only other party to have been represented is the Liberal Democrats or their predecessor, the Liberal Party, who achieved a marginal victory in 2010, see marginal seat.

Prominent frontbenchers

Sir William Hayter was chief government whip of the Commons under three Liberal Prime Ministers governing from the Lords, (Lord John) Russell, Aberdeen and Palmerston.

So too in this role was Lord Hylton from 1916 until 1922 alongside the Lord Colebrooke in the Conservative-Liberal National coalition.

Robert Sanders was Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons, 1918–1919, and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1922-1924.

Robert Boscawen was a government whip (1988-1989).

David Heathcoat-Amory was Minister for Europe (1993-1994) and later a Shadow Cabinet member (1997-2001) but was nationally disgraced in the expenses scandal for large claims including his manure claim, epitomising the whole Parliament as the 'Manure Parliament' in The Times, this may have affected the larger than average swing seen in the 2010 election from the Conservative to the Liberal Democrat candidate.

Tessa Munt became a whip for her party under the 2010-2015 coalition government.

Boundaries[edit]

1950-1983: The boroughs of Glastonbury and Wells; the urban districts of Frome, Shepton Mallet, and Street; and the rural districts of Frome, Shepton Mallet, Wells, and Wincanton.

1983-2010: The District of Mendip wards of Ashwick, Avalon, Chilcompton and Ston Easton, Ebbor, Glastonbury St Benedict's, Glastonbury St Edmund's, Glastonbury St John's, Glastonbury St Mary's, Moor, Nedge, Pylcombe, Rodney, Sheppey, Shepton Mallet, Street North, Street South, Wells Central, Wells St Cuthbert's, and Wells St Thomas; and the District of Sedgemoor wards of Axbridge, Axe Vale, Berrow, Brent, Burnham North, Burnham South, Cheddar, Highbridge, Mark, Shipham, and Wedmore.

2010-present: The District of Mendip wards of Ashwick and Ston Easton, Avalon, Chilcompton, Glastonbury St Benedict’s, Glastonbury St Edmund’s, Glastonbury St John’s, Glastonbury St Mary’s, Knowle, Moor, Nedge, Pylcombe, Rodney and Priddy, St Cuthbert Out North and West, Shepton East, Shepton West, Street North, Street South, Street West, Wells Central, Wells St Cuthbert’s, and Wells St Thomas’; and the District of Sedgemoor wards of Axbridge, Axe Vale, Berrow, Brent North, Burnham North, Burnham South, Cheddar and Shipham, Highbridge, Knoll, and Wedmore and Mark.

Constituency profile[edit]

Aside from energy, transportation, retail and distribution which are major sectors, agriculture and tourism are still important areas to this central and quite quintessential part of Somerset which includes a coastal resort, Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury Tor. Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 2.1% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[5]

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1295–1640[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
1386 Nicholas Cristesham Thomas Phelpes[6]
1388 (Feb) Richard Ferrour Nicholas Cristesham[6]
1388 (Sep) John Blithe Thomas Hore[6]
1390 (Jan) Nicholas More Thomas Tanner[6]
1390 (Nov)
1391 John Newmaster Roger Chapman[6]
1393 John Newmaster John Blithe[6]
1394 John Newmaster Thomas Hore[6]
1395 Nicholas Cristesham John Comeland[6]
1397 (Jan) Nicholas More Thomas Wynchester[6]
1397 (Sep) Roger Chapman William Greynton[6]
1399 Thomas Tanner John Blithe[6]
1401
1402 John Wycombe Roger Chapman[6]
1404 (Jan) Roger Chapman Richard Groos[6]
1404 (Oct) Walter Dyer John Bowyer[6]
1406 Thomas Wey Thomas Jay[6]
1407 Walter Duddesdon John Newmaster[6]
1410 John Russell Luke Wilton[6]
1411
1413 (Feb) John Horewode I John Podmore[6]
1413 (May) John Horewode I Luke Wilton[6]
1414 (Apr) John Podmore Thomas Dynt[6]
1414 (Nov) John Hynden Thomas Dynt[6]
1415
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct) Simon Bailly John Cutte[6]
1417 Richard Setter Hildebrand Eelwell[6]
1419 Richard Perys Richard Langford[6]
1420 Richard Setter Hildebrand Eelwell[6]
1421 (May) Hildebrand Eelwell Richard Perys[6]
1421 (Dec) Robert Elwell John Pedewell[6]
1510 John Welshot John Mawdley I[7]
1512 Walter Sarger Richard alias Robert Ruynon[7]
1515 Walter Sarger Richard alias Robert Ruynon[7]
1523 Walter Sarger John Mawdley I[7]
1529 John Cutte John Mawdley II[7]
1536  ?
1539 John Mawdley II John Godwin[7]
1542 John Godwin James Dyer[7]
1545 John Mawdley II Anthony Gilbert[7]
1547 Thomas Clerke John Aylworth[7]
First Parliament of 1553 John Aylworth William Godwin
Second Parliament of 1553 Thomas Lewis John Godwin
Parliament of 1554 John Mawdeley
Parliament of 1554–1555 William Gedney or Goodwin
Parliament of 1555 Maurice Llewellyn
Parliament of 1558 John Aylworth died during the 1572 Parliament
In his place Ayshton Aylworth
John Mawdeley
Parliament of 1559
Parliament of 1563–1567 John Hippisley
Parliament of 1571 Henry Newton
Parliament of 1572–1581 William Bourman
Parliament of 1584–1585 John Biss George Upton
Parliament of 1586–1587 Thomas Goodwin William Smith
Parliament of 1588–1589 Thomas Purfrey John Ayshe
Parliament of 1593 Richard Goodwin James Goodwin
Parliament of 1597–1598 Leonard Crosse William Watkins
Parliament of 1601 James Kirton George Upton
Parliament of 1604–1611 Sir Robert Stapleton
Addled Parliament (1614) Sidney Montagu Thomas Southworth
Parliament of 1621–1622 (Sir) Edward Rodney
Happy Parliament (1624–1625)
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Thomas Lake
Parliament of 1625–1626
Parliament of 1628–1629 Sir Ralph Hopton John Baber
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640

MPs 1640–1832[edit]

Election 1st Member[8] 1st Party 2nd Member[8] 2nd Party
April 1640 Sir Edward Rodney Royalist John Baber
November 1640 Sir Ralph Hopton Royalist
August 1642 Rodney and Hopton disabled from sitting – both seats vacant
1645 Lislebone Long Recruiter Clement Walker
December 1648 Walker excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Wells was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Lislebone Long Wells had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1656 John Jenkyn
January 1659 Sir Lislebone Long Thomas White
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Henry Bull Thomas White
1661 Sir Maurice Berkeley Lord Richard Butler
1671 John Hall
1679 Edward Berkeley William Coward
1680 John Hall
1685 Edward Berkeley Thomas Wyndham (died December 1689)
Jan 1690 William Coward
Feb 1690 Hopton Wyndham
1695 William Coward
1701 Henry Seymour Portman
1705 Maurice Berkeley
1708 Edward Colston William Coward
1710 Maurice Berkeley
1713 Sir Thomas Wroth
1715 Thomas Strangways Horner
May 1716 William Coward William Piers
Jun 1716 Thomas Strangways Horner
1717 John Dodd
1719 Thomas Edwards
1722 Francis Gwyn
1727 Edward Prideaux Gwyn
1729 William Piers
1734 George Hamilton
1735 William Piers George Speke
1741 Francis Gwyn
1747 George Hamilton
1754 The Lord Digby Charles Tudway
1757 Captain Robert Digby
1761 The Lord Digby Clement Tudway
1765 Robert Child
1782 John Curtis
1784 William Thomas Beckford
1790 Henry Berkeley Portman
1796 (Sir) Charles Taylor Whig
1815 John Paine Tudway Tory
1830 John Edwards-Vaughan Tory John Lee Lee Whig

MPs 1832–1868[edit]

Election 1st Member 1st Party 2nd Member 2nd Party
1832 Norman Lamont Whig John Lee Lee Whig
1834 by-election Nicholas William Ridley Colborne Whig
1837 Richard Blakemore Conservative William Goodenough Hayter Whig
1852 Robert Charles Tudway Conservative
1855 by-election Hedworth Hylton Jolliffe Conservative
1865 Arthur Divett Hayter Liberal
1868 borough constituency abolished

MPs 1885–present[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 Sir Richard Horner Paget, Bt. Conservative
1895 Hylton Jolliffe Conservative
1899 by-election Robert Edmund Dickinson Conservative
1906 Thomas Ball Silcock Liberal
Jan 1910 George John Sandys Conservative
1918 Harry Greer Coalition Conservative
1922 Robert Bruford Conservative
1923 Arthur Hobhouse Liberal
1924 Sir Robert Arthur Sanders, Bt. Conservative
1929 Anthony John Muirhead Conservative
1939 Lt. Col. Dennis Coleridge Boles Conservative
1951 Lynch Maydon Conservative
1970 Robert Boscawen Conservative
1983 David Heathcoat-Amory Conservative
2010 Tessa Munt Liberal Democrats

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt
Conservative James Heappey
General Election 2010: Wells[9][10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt 24,560 44.0 +6.1
Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory 23,760 42.5 -1.0
Labour Andy Merryfield 4,198 7.5 -8.1
UKIP Jake Baynes 1,711 3.1 +0.1
BNP Richard Boyce 1,004 1.8 N/A
Green Chris Briton 631 1.1 N/A
Majority 800 1.4
Turnout 55,864 70.3 +2.6
Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative Swing +3.6

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory 23,071 43.6 −0.2
Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt 20,031 37.8 −0.5
Labour Dan Whittle 8,288 15.6 +0.2
UKIP Steve Reed 1,575 3.0 +0.8
Majority 3,040 5.7
Turnout 52,965 68.0 −1.2
Conservative hold Swing +0.1
General Election 2001: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory 22,462 43.8 +4.4
Liberal Democrat Graham Oakes 19,666 38.3 -0.1
Labour Andy Merryfield 7,915 15.4 -2.7
UKIP Steve Reed 1,104 2.2 N/A
Wessex Regionalist Colin Bex 167 0.3 N/A
Majority 2,796 5.5
Turnout 51,314 69.2 -8.7
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory 22,208 39.4 −5.8
Liberal Democrat Peter Gold 21,680 38.5 −0.2
Labour Michael Eavis 10,204 18.1 +7.5
Referendum Party Patricia Phelps 2,196 3.9 N/A
Natural Law Lynn Royse 92 0.2 N/A
Majority 528 0.9
Turnout 56,380 77.8
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1992: Wells[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory 28,620 49.6 −4.0
Liberal Democrat Humphrey P.N. Temperley 21,971 38.0 +0.5
Labour John W. Pilgrim 6,126 10.6 +1.9
Green Mike R. Fenner 1,042 1.8 +1.8
Majority 6,649 11.5 −4.5
Turnout 57,759 82.7 +3.2
Conservative hold Swing −2.2

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Philip Heathcoat-Amory 28,624 53.52
Liberal Alan A.S. Butt-Philip 20,083 37.55
Labour Peter James 4,637 8.67
Independent John S. Fish 134 0.25
Majority 8,541 15.97
Turnout 79.59
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Philip Heathcoat-Amory 25,385 52.65
Liberal Alan A.S. Butt-Philip 18,810 39.01
Labour A.M. Leigh 3,747 7.77
Independent G. Livings 273 0.57
Majority 6,575 13.64
Turnout 77.57
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Boscawen 30,400 51.35
Liberal Alan A.S. Butt Philip 18,204 30.75
Labour Paul Murphy 10,025 16.93
Independent G. Livings 421 0.71
Wessex Regionalist A. Thynn 155 0.26
Majority 12,196 20.60
Turnout 79.24
Conservative hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Boscawen 23,979 43.64
Liberal Alan A.S. Butt Philip 16,278 29.63
Labour G. Mortimer 13,909 25.31
United Democratic Party P. Howard 778 1.42
Majority 7,701 14.02
Turnout 78.88
Conservative hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Boscawen 25,430 44.25
Liberal Alan A.S. Butt Philip 17,645 30.70
Labour D.K. Pearce 14,399 25.05
Majority 7,785 13.55
Turnout 83.29
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1970: Wells

Electorate 65,437

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Boscawen 25,106 49.6
Labour Frank R. Thompson 16,335 32.3
Liberal W.F.J. Pinching 9,174 18.1
Majority 17.3
Turnout 77.4
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Wells

Electorate 58,609

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lynch Maydon 20,528 43.0
Labour John G Cousins 16,989 35.6
Liberal Howard L Fry 10,224 21.4
Majority 3,539 7.4
Turnout 81.5
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1964: Wells

Electorate 58,121

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lynch Maydon 20,663 43.2
Labour Reginald G White 15,080 31.5
Liberal Howard L Fry 12,132 25.3
Majority 5,583 11.7
Turnout 82.4
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Wells

Electorate 57,455

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lynch Maydon 23,357 48.6
Labour JAA Evans 16,452 34.2
Liberal Paul R Hobhouse 8,220 17.1
Majority 6,905 14.4
Turnout 83.6
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lynch Maydon 25,624 56.4
Labour M Bresler 19,745 43.5
Majority 5,879 13.0
Turnout 79.5
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1951: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lynch Maydon 26,524 55.2
Labour DR Llewellyn 21,481 44.8
Majority 5,043 10.5
Turnout 84.2
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1950: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Dennis Coleridge Boles 20,613 42.6
Labour Lady Archibald 17,987 37.2
Liberal Anthony Marreco 9,771 20.2
Majority 2,626 5.4
Turnout 87.8
Conservative hold Swing

Election in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Dennis Coleridge Boles 13,004 41.3
Labour C Morgan 10,539 33.5
Liberal Violet Bonham Carter 7,910 25.2
Majority 2,465 7.8
Turnout 75.0
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

Wells by-election, 1939
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Dennis Coleridge Boles Unopposed
Conservative hold Swing

General Election 1939/40: Another general election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;

General Election 1935

Electorate 37,836

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Anthony Muirhead 14,898 53.4
Liberal Arnold H Jones 7,277 26.1
Labour WJ Waring 5,716 20.5
Majority 7,621 27.3
Turnout 73.7
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1931: Wells
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Anthony Muirhead 17,711 58.7
Liberal John William Howard Thompson 12,440 41.3
Majority 5,271 17.5
Turnout 17.5
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

Arthur Hobhouse
General Election 1929

Electorate 36,219

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Anthony Muirhead 13,026 43.6
Liberal Arthur Hobhouse 12,382 41.4
Labour Mrs R D Q Davies 4,472 15.0
Majority 644 2.2
Turnout 82.5
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1924

Electorate 29,249

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Robert Sanders 12,642
Liberal Arthur Hobhouse 8,668
Labour W T Young 2,726
Majority
Turnout
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing
General Election 6 December 1923:

Electorate 28,356

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Arthur Hobhouse 10,818
Unionist Robert Bruford 9,909
Labour C H Whitlow 1,713
Liberal gain from Unionist Swing
General Election 1922

Electorate 27,526

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Robert Bruford 10,210
Liberal Arthur Hobhouse 7,156
Labour L Smith 4,048
Majority
Turnout
Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918

Electorate 26,952

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist
  1. Harry Greer
9,785
Liberal John Coleby Morland 6,935
National Party Maj. G. C. S. Hodgson MC 804
Majority
Turnout
Unionist hold Swing

A # denotes candidate who was endorsed by the Coalition Government.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  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.
References
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures – Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2013/James-Heappey-selected-03-02-13.php
  3. ^ http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2014/labour-ppc-chosen-20-02-14.php
  4. ^ http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2014/ukip-candidate-03-04-14.php
  5. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Cassidy, Irene. "Wells". The History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "General Election 2010". Mendip District Council. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "BBC NEWS – Election 2010 – Wells". BBC News. 
  11. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  12. ^ The Liberal Magazine, 1939

Sources[edit]

  • Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) [1]
  • Henry Stooks Smith, The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847, Volume 2 (London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co, 1845) [2]