List of Parliamentary constituencies in Bedfordshire

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The ceremonial county of Bedfordshire (which includes the areas of the Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton unitary authorities) is divided into 6 Parliamentary constituencies - 3 Borough constituencies and 3 County constituencies.

2017 constituencies[edit]

  † Conservative   ‡ Labour   ^ Independent Labour   Change UK


(part) means that part of a ward is in a constituency.

Name[nb 1] Electorate[1] Majority[nb 2] Member of Parliament Nearest opposition Electoral wards[2][3] Map
Bedford BC 71,829 789   Mohammad Yasin   Richard Fuller Bedford Borough Council: Brickhill, Castle, Cauldwell, De Parys, Goldington, Harpur, Kempston East, Kempston North, Kempston South, Kingsbrook, Newnham, Putnoe, Queen’s Park.
A small constituency, located north of the centre of the county.
Luton North BC 66,811 14,364   Kelvin Hopkins^   Caroline Kerswell† Luton Borough Council: Barnfield, Bramingham, Challney, Icknield, Leagrave, Lewsey, Limbury, Northwell, Saints, Sundon Park.
A small constituency south of the centre of the county.
Luton South BC 67,188 13,925   Gavin Shuker   Dean Russell† Luton Borough Council: Biscot, Crawley, Dallow, Farley, High Town, Round Green, South, Stopsley, Wigmore. Central Bedfordshire Council: Caddington, Hyde and Slip End.
A small constituency, located in the southwest of the county.
Mid Bedfordshire CC 84,161 20,983   Nadine Dorries   Rhiannon Meades‡ Bedford Borough Council: Turvey, Wilshamstead, Wootton. Central Bedfordshire Council: Ampthill, Aspley Guise, Clifton and Meppershall, Cranfield, Flitton, Greenfield and Pulloxhill, Flitwick East, Flitwick West, Harlington, Houghton, Haynes, Southill and Old Warden, Marston, Maulden and Clophill, Shefford, Campton and Gravenhurst, Shillington, Stondon and Henlow Camp, Streatley, Silsoe, Toddington, Westoning and Tingrith.
A large constituency, occupying the centre of the county.
North East Bedfordshire CC 87,505 20,862   Alistair Burt   Julian Vaughan ‡ Bedford Borough Council: Bromham, Carlton, Clapham, Eastcotts, Great Barford, Harrold, Oakley, Riseley, Roxton, Sharnbrook. Central Bedfordshire Council: Arlesey, Biggleswade Holme, Biggleswade Ivel, Biggleswade Stratton, Langford and Henlow Village, Northill and Blunham, Potton and Wensley, Sandy Ivel, Sandy Pinnacle, Stotfold.
A large constituency in the north of the county.
South West Bedfordshire CC 79,658 14,168   Andrew Selous   Daniel Scott‡ Central Bedfordshire Council: All Saints, Chiltern, Dunstable Central, Eaton Bray, Grovebury, Heath and Reach, Houghton Hall, Icknield, Kensworth and Totternhoe, Linslade, Manshead, Northfields, Parkside, Planets, Plantation, Southcott, Stanbridge, Tithe Farm, Watling.
A medium constituency in the southwest of the county.

History of Constituencies and Boundaries[edit]

Prior to 1885[edit]

Since 1295, the Parliamentary County of Bedfordshire, along with all other English Counties regardless of size or population, had elected 2 MPs to the House of Commons in accordance with the freehold property franchise. The Parliamentary Borough of Bedford had also returned 2 MPs since 1295. The Great Reform Act of 1832 radically changed the representation of the House of Commons, but Bedfordshire was one of the few counties which were unaffected by this and the County and Borough both continued to elect 2 MPs until 1885.

1885-1918[edit]

Under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, the County was divided into 2 single-member constituencies, namely the Northern or Biggleswade Division and the Southern or Luton Division. Biggleswade covered the northern half of the county including Biggleswade, Ampthill and Kempston. It also included non-resident freeholders of the Municipal Borough of Bedford. Luton covered the southern half of the county, including Leighton Buzzard and the Municipal Boroughs of Dunstable and Luton. Bedford was retained as a Parliamentary Borough but its representation was reduced to 1 MP.

The table shows an approximate representation of the development of constituencies in Bedfordshire since 1885. The text below gives a more detailed description.

1885-1918 1918-1950 1950-1974 1974-1983 1983-1997 1997-present
Bedford BC Bedford CC Bedford CC Bedford CC North Bedfordshire CC Bedford BC
Biggleswade CC Mid Bedfordshire CC Mid Bedfordshire CC Mid Bedfordshire CC Mid Bedfordshire CC North East Bedfordshire CC
Mid Bedfordshire CC
Luton CC Luton CC South Bedfordshire CC South Bedfordshire CC South West Bedfordshire CC South West Bedfordshire CC
Luton West BC North Luton CC Luton North BC
Luton BC Luton East BC Luton South BC Luton South BC
BC = Borough Constituency (prior to 1950 - Parliamentary Borough or Division thereof)

CC = County Constituency (prior to 1950 - Parliamentary County of Division thereof)

1918-1950[edit]

Under the Representation of the People Act 1918, the Parliamentary Borough of Bedford was abolished. The Municipal Borough of Bedford was now included in the new Bedford Division of the Parliamentary County, alongside the Urban District of Kempston and the rural areas of the northern part of the abolished Biggleswade Division. The southern areas of Biggleswade, including the Urban Districts of Biggleswade and Ampthill were included in the new Mid Bedfordshire Division, along with Leighton Buzzard and surrounding rural areas transferred form Luton.

1950-1974[edit]

The Representation of the People Act 1948 increased the county's representation from 3 to 4 MPs with the creation of the new County Constituency of South Bedfordshire. This included Dunstable and the Leagrave and Limbury districts of the Municipal Borough of Luton, transferred from the Luton constituency, and Leighton Buzzard, transferred from Mid Bedfordshire. Luton was designated as a Borough Constituency, comprising the Municipal Borough excluding Leagrave and Limbury. Mid Bedfordshire gained southern and eastern rural areas from the constituency of Bedford.

1974-1983[edit]

Under the Second Periodic Review of Westminster Constituencies, representation was increased from 4 to 5 MPs with the abolition of Luton and the creation of the Borough Constituencies of Luton East and Luton West. The majority of the latter comprised the Leagrave and Limbury districts transferred from South Bedfordshire. There were also two minor changes due to changes to the county boundaries: South Bedfordshire gained the former Urban District of Linslade in Buckinghamshire which had been merged with that of Leighton Buzzard to form the Urban District of Leighton-Linslade; and Mid Bedfordshire lost the village of Eaton Socon which had been absorbed into the Urban District of St Neots in Huntingdonshire.

1983-1997[edit]

The Third Periodic Review left the county's representation at 5 MPs, but saw significant changes to the constituencies, with only Mid Bedfordshire being retained. Bedford was abolished, being largely replaced by North Bedfordshire, with the exception of Kempston, which was transferred to Mid Bedfordshire. Luton East and Luton West were replaced by Luton South and Luton North respectively, with both of these including small areas of South Bedfordshire and Luton North (formally the County Constituency of North Luton) extending further northwards to include Flitwick which was previously in Mid Bedfordshire. South Bedfordshire was abolished and largely replaced by South West Bedfordshire, which was extended northwards to included south-western parts of Mid Bedfordshire.

1997-2010[edit]

The Fourth Review resulted in a further increase to 6 MPs. Bedford was re-established as a Borough Constituency comprising the town of Bedford itself, which had constituted the majority of the abolished constituency of North Bedfordshire, and Kempston which was transferred back from Mid Bedfordshire. A new County Constituency of North East Bedfordshire was created, comprising the remaining (rural) areas of North Bedfordshire and northern and eastern parts of Mid Bedfordshire, including Biggleswade and Sandy and resulting in the loss of around half of its electorate. To compensate for this and the loss of Kempston, Mid Bedfordshire regained the areas previously transferred to South West Bedfordshire and gained the parts outside the Borough of Luton from North Luton (including Flitwick). The latter constituency was redesignated as the Borough Constituency of Luton North and gained the Saints ward from Luton South.

2010-present[edit]

Fifth Review - marginal changes due to revision of local authority wards.

Name Pre-2010 Boundaries Post-2010 Boundaries
  1. Bedford BC
  2. Luton North BC
  3. Luton South BC
  4. Mid Bedfordshire CC
  5. North East Bedfordshire CC
  6. South West Bedfordshire CC
Parliamentary constituencies in Bedfordshire 1997 - 2005
Parliamentary constituencies in Bedfordshire 2010 - present

Changes proposed for 2022[edit]

The Boundary Commission for England submitted their final proposals in respect of the Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster Constituencies (the 2018 review) in September 2018. If these proposals are approved by Parliament they will come into effect at the next UK general election which is due to take place in May 2022 under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

Under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, the Sixth Review was based on reducing the total number of MPs from 650 to 600 and a strict electoral parity requirement that the electorate of all constituencies should be within a range of 5% either side of the electoral quota. The review was carried out using the official UK electorate figures for 2015 and the electoral quota was set at 74,769, establishing a range of 71,031 to 78,507.[4]

In order to meet these requirements, the Commission was able to treat Bedfordshire as a sub-region of the Eastern Region and recommended that the county retained six seats. Luton South would gain the remainder of the Central Bedfordshire ward of Caddington from South West Bedfordshire and the Borough of Luton ward of Barnfield from Luton North. In turn, Luton North would gain three wards from South West Bedfordshire comprising the town of Houghton Regis. In recognition of this the Commission recommend changing the name of this constituency to Luton North and Houghton Regis. The boundary between South West Bedfordshire and Mid Bedfordshire would be moved northwards again and the boundaries around the town of Bedford between the constituencies of Bedford, North East Bedfordshire and Mid Bedfordshire would be adjusted to take account of the revision of wards in the Borough of Bedford and the required electoral range.[4]

Current constituencies Electorate[5] Proposed constituencies[6] Electorate[6]
Bedford BC 70,259 Bedford BC 74,520
Luton North BC 64,552 Luton North and Houghton Regis BC 71,188
Luton South BC 64,136 Luton South BC 71,881
Mid Bedfordshire CC 80,069 Mid Bedfordshire CC 74,088
North East Bedfordshire CC 83,599 North East Bedfordshire CC 74,198
South West Bedfordshire CC 76,959 South West Bedfordshire CC 73,699
439,574 439,574

Results[edit]

Total County Results[edit]

The total number of aggregate votes cast for each political party which fielded candidates in constituencies which comprise Bedfordshire in the 2017 general election was as follows:

Party Votes Votes % Seats
Conservative 163,239 50.42 3
Labour 136,304 42.10 3
Liberal Democrats 14,822 4.58 -
Greens 6,735 2.08 -
UKIP 2,629 0.81 -
Monster Raving Loony 667 0.21 -
Christian Peoples Alliance 301 0.09 -
Independents 160 0.05 -
Total 323,729 6

Historical representation by party[edit]

A cell marked → (with a different colour background to the preceding cell) indicates that the previous MP continued to sit under a new party name.

1885 to 1918[edit]

  Conservative   Liberal   Liberal Unionist

Constituency 1885 1886 1892 92 1895 1900 1906 Jan 1910 Dec 1910 11
Bedford Whitbread Pym Barlow Attenborough Kellaway
Biggleswade Magniac Baring Russell Compton Black
Luton Flower Whitbread Ashton Harmsworth

1918 to 1974[edit]

  Coalition Liberal (1918-22) / National Liberal (1922-23)   Conservative   Labour   Liberal   National Liberal (1931-68)

Constituency 1918 1922 1923 1924 1929 31 1931 1935 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 60 63 1964 1966 1970
Bedford Kellaway Wells Skeffington-Lodge Soames Parkyn Skeet
Bedfordshire Mid Townley Linfield Warner Gray Lennox-Boyd Hastings
Bedfordshire South Moeran Cole Roberts Madel
Luton Harmsworth Hewett Howard O'Connor Burgin Warbey Hill Howie Simeons

1974 to present[edit]

  Conservative   Independent   Change UK   Labour

Constituency Feb 1974 Oct 1974 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010 2015 2017 17 19
Bedford (1974-83, 1997-present) / North Bedfordshire (1983-97) Skeet Hall Fuller Yasin
Bedfordshire Mid Hastings Lyell Sayeed Dorries
North East Bedfordshire Lyell Burt
Bedfordshire South / South West Bedfordshire (1983) Madel Selous
Luton East / Luton South (1983) Clemitson Bright Moran Shuker
Luton West / Luton North (1983) Sedgemore Carlisle Hopkins

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ BC denotes borough constituency, CC denotes county constituency.
  2. ^ The majority is the number of votes the winning candidate receives more than their nearest rival.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2017 Results". Politics Resources. 7 April 2018.
  2. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007, page 4". Office of Public Sector Information. Crown copyright. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
  3. ^ Boundary Commission for England pp. 1004–1007
  4. ^ a b Boundary Commission for England, 2018 Review, Associated consultation documents (September 2018). "Final recommendations report".CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Boundary Commission for England, 2018 Review, Associated consultation documents (Document type: Electoral data) (24 February 2016). "The electorate of each region subdivided by both local authorities and each existing constituency".CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b Boundary Commission for England, 2018 Review, Associated consultation documents (September 2018). "Final recommendations constituency list (with wards)".CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)