Peterborough (UK Parliament constituency)
for the House of Commons
Boundary of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.
Location of Cambridgeshire within England.
|Electorate||72,787 (December 2010)|
|Member of parliament||Stewart Jackson (Conservative)|
|Number of members||One|
|Number of members||One|
|Type of constituency||County constituency|
|Number of members||1541–1885: Two
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
|European Parliament constituency||East of England|
Peterborough is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, sharing the name of a smaller constituency represented in the Parliament of England until 1707 and then in that of Great Britain until 1800. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.
The serving Member is Conservative Stewart Jackson. He defeated Labour's Helen Clark in 2005, and was re-elected in 2010 with an increased majority. In 2015, he held the seat with a reduced majority.
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 Franchise
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Election results
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The City of Peterborough formed a parliamentary borough returning two Members in 1541. The rest of the Soke of Peterborough was part of the Northamptonshire parliamentary county, except the area south of the River Nene in the historic county of Huntingdonshire and Thorney, which was considered part of Cambridgeshire. Until 1832 when the whole of the parish of Saint John the Baptist was encompassed, the boundary, as far as is known, excluded the villages of Longthorpe, Dogsthorpe and Newark with Eastfield. The Great Reform Act did not affect the borough, while the rural portion of the Soke was included in the northern division of Northamptonshire. New Fletton was transferred from Huntingdonshire in 1868 and in 1918 the parliamentary borough was abolished and replaced with a new division of the parliamentary county of Northampton with the Soke of Peterborough, including the whole of the Soke and neighbouring parts of the administrative county of Northamptonshire, extending down to and beyond Thrapston and Corby. This became a county constituency under the 1948 revisions, when the boundaries of the constituency were adjusted to correspond to those of the Soke and they remained much the same until 1970. Peterborough became a borough constituency in 1974.
Following their review of parliamentary representation in Cambridgeshire in 2005, the Boundary Commission for England made minor alterations to the existing constituencies to deal with population changes. The electoral wards used to create the modified Peterborough constituency fought at the 2010 general election are: Bretton North, Bretton South, Central, Dogsthorpe, East, Eye and Thorney, Newborough, North, Park, Paston, Ravensthorpe, Walton, Werrington North, Werrington South, and West. These changes increased the electorate from 64,893 to 70,640. On the enumeration date of 17 February 2000, the electoral quota for England was 69,934 voters per constituency.
The Peterborough wards of Barnack, Fletton, Glinton and Wittering, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Orton with Hampton, Stanground Central, and Stanground East form part of the North West Cambridgeshire constituency created in 1997 from parts of Peterborough and Huntingdon constituencies. The serving member for North West Cambridgeshire is the Conservative, Shailesh Vara MP, who succeeded Sir Brian Mawhinney, former Secretary of State for Transport and Chairman of the Conservative Party, in 2005. Mawhinney, who had previously served as Member of Parliament for Peterborough from 1979, was created Baron Mawhinney, of Peterborough in the county of Cambridgeshire in 2005. Eye and Thorney was previously included in the North East Cambridgeshire (prior to 1983 Isle of Ely) constituency.
In the unreformed House of Commons to be either a candidate or an elector for a county seat, a man had to own (not rent) freehold property valued for the land tax at two pounds a year (women could neither vote nor stand for election). This was known as the 40/- freehold. The franchise for borough seats varied enormously. Originally in Peterborough the dean and chapter had claimed the franchise and held that only residents of Minster Precincts were burgesses. By the interregnum, the city was one of 37 boroughs in which suffrage was restricted to those paying scot and lot, a form of municipal taxation. In 1800 there were 2,000 registered voters in Northamptonshire and 400 in Peterborough. By 1835 this was 576, or about one per cent of the population. Bribery was general until the introduction of the secret ballot under the Ballot Act 1872. Votes were cast by spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings, erected on the Market Place (now Cathedral Square).
In 1832 the Great Reform Act enfranchised those who owned or leased land worth £10 or more and the Second Reform Act extended this to all householders paying £10 or more in rent per annum, effectively enfranchising the skilled working class, so by 1868 the percentage of voters in Peterborough had risen to about 20% of the population. The Third Reform Act extended the provisions of the previous act to the counties and the Fourth Reform Act widened suffrage further by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. This system, known as universal manhood suffrage, was first used in the 1918 general election. However, full electoral equality wouldn't occur until the Fifth Reform Act ten years later.
According to the 2001 census, the population count of Peterborough constituency is 95,103 persons, comprising 46,131 males and 48,972 females. 67.56% of those aged 16–74 are economically active, including 5.92% umemployed; a further 12.26% are retired and 3.08% students. Of a total 39,760 households, 63.80% are owner occupied, fewer than the regional (72.71%) and national (68.72%) averages. Turnout at the 2005 general election was 41,194 or 61.0% of those eligible to vote, below the regional (63.6%) and national (61.3%) figures.
Members of Parliament
Peterborough sent two members to parliament for the first time in 1547. Before the civil war, many were relatives of the clergy; then for two hundred years after the restoration there was always a Fitzwilliam, or a Fitzwilliam nominee, sitting as member for Peterborough, making it a Whig stronghold. Representation was reduced to one member under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. From the formal merger of the breakaway Liberal Unionists with the Conservatives in 1912 and the absorption of rural North Northamptonshire in 1918, Peterborough has been predominantly Conservative. The growth in the New Town from 1967 may in part account for Labour's victory here in 1974. Since its formation in 1997, North West Cambridgeshire has been one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. At the election which followed, Peterborough was ranked 93rd in the Conservatives's one hundred most vulnerable seats (the ones which the other parties must take if there is to be a change of government) and 73rd on Labour's target list.
In 1966, the closest poll in UK history, Sir Harmar Nicholls held the seat by three votes after seven recounts. Nicholls was the Conservative member from 1950 to 1974, when he lost in the October election of that year to Labour's Michael Ward, having held on by just 22 votes after four recounts in the election eight months earlier. After he lost his seat he was created Baron Harmar-Nicholls, of Peterborough in the county of Cambridgeshire and served, from 1979 to 1984, as Member of the European Parliament for Greater Manchester South. David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter, winner of 400m hurdles at the 1928 Summer Olympics, member of the International Olympic Committee for 48 years and chairman of the organising committee of the 1948 Summer Olympics, was the Conservative member from 1931 to 1943. Lord Burghley, as he then was, succeeded the socialist writer and illustrator, Frank Horrabin, who was born in the city and elected under the leadership of Ramsay MacDonald in 1929.
The most recent Labour MP for Peterborough, Helen Clark (née Brinton), won the seat in 1997. She was defeated at the 2005 general election, following which it was widely reported that Clark was planning to defect to the Conservative Party, an announcement which was not popular locally. However, by early June it emerged that while she had left the Labour Party, she had not in fact joined the Conservatives and did not intend to.
One of the earliest incumbents, Sir Walter Mildmay, member for Peterborough from 1553 to 1554, subsequently became Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1559 to 1589. Later, in the nineteenth century, William Elliot, Whig member from 1802 until his death in 1819, was Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1806 and 1807; the Hon. William Lamb (later the 2nd Viscount Melbourne), Whig member from 1816 to 1819, became Home Secretary in 1830 then Prime Minister from 1834 to 1841; and Sir James Scarlett (later the 1st Baron Abinger), Whig member from 1819 to 1830, was, from 1827, Attorney General for England and Wales.
Parliamentary Borough 1547–1918
The Tories (or Abhorrers) and Whigs (or Petitioners) originated in the Court and Country parties that emerged in the aftermath of the civil war, although it is more accurate to describe them as loose tendencies, both of which might be regarded as conservative in modern terms. Modern party politics did not really begin to coalesce in Great Britain until at least 1784.
In 1832 the Tory Party evolved into the Conservative Party and in 1859 the Whig Party evolved, with Radicals and Peelites, into the Liberal Party. In opposition to Irish home rule, the Liberal Unionists ceded from the Liberals in 1886, aligning themselves with the Conservatives. The Labour Party was later founded, as the Labour Representation Committee, in 1900.
|1885||Hon. John Wentworth-FitzWilliam||Independent Liberal / Liberal Unionist|
|1889 by-election||Sir Alpheus Cleophas Morton||Liberal|
|1895||Sir Robert Purvis||Liberal Unionist / Conservative|
|1906||Sir Granville Greenwood||Liberal|
|1918||parliamentary borough abolished|
Division and County Constituency
The parliamentary borough of Peterborough was abolished under the Representation of the People Act 1918, and the name was transferred to a division of the new parliamentary county of Northampton with the Soke of Peterborough. The Peterborough division became a county constituency in 1950.
Peterborough was redefined as a borough constituency with effect from the February 1974 general election. Successors of the historic parliamentary boroughs, the spending limits for election campaigns are slightly lower than in county constituencies.
MPs since 1974
|Feb. 1974||Sir Harmar Nicholls, 1st Baronet||Conservative|
|Oct. 1974||Michael Ward||Labour|
|1979||Sir Brian Mawhinney||Conservative|
1950 to present
|General Election 2015 
Turnout: 47,075 (64.9%)
Majority: 1,925 (4.1%) -6.7
Swing: -3.4% from Con to Lab
|Darren Fower||Liberal Democrat||1,774||3.8||-15.9|
|General Election 2010 
Turnout: 44,927 (63.9%) +4.8
Majority: 4,861 (10.8%) +4.2
Swing: +0.9% from Lab to Con
|Nick Sandford||Liberal Democrat||8,816||19.6||+2.9|
|Rob King||English Democrats||770||1.7||N/A|
|General Election 2005 
Turnout: 41,194 (61.0%) -0.4
|Conservative gain from Labour
Majority: 2,730 (6.6%) N/A
Swing: -7.0% from Con to Lab
|Nick Sandford||Liberal Democrat||6,876||16.7||+2.2|
|Terry Blackham||National Front||931||2.3||N/A|
|General Election 2001 
Turnout: 39,812 (61.4%) -11.4
Majority: 2,854 (7.1%) -8.0
Swing: -4.0% from Lab to Con
|Nick Sandford||Liberal Democrat||5,761||14.5||+3.8|
|General Election 1997 
Turnout: 48,427 (72.8%) -2.3
|Labour gain from Conservative
Majority: 7,323 (15.1%) N/A
Swing: -13.4% from Con to Lab
|David Howarth||Liberal Democrat||5,170||10.7||+2.8|
|Philip Slater||Referendum Party||924||1.91||N/A|
|Charles Brettell||Natural Law||334||0.7||+0.4|
|Stephen Goldspink||ProLife Alliance||275||0.6||N/A|
|General Election 1992 
Turnout: 65,840 (75.1%)
Majority: 5,376 (8.1%) -7.6
Swing: -3.8% from Con to Lab
|Amanda Taylor||Liberal Democrat||5,208||7.9||-8.2|
|Charles Brettell||Natural Law||215||0.3||N/A|
|General Election 1987 
Turnout: 61,951 (73.5%) +0.2
Majority: 9,784 (15.7%) -2.4
Swing: -1.2% from Con to Lab
|General Election 1983 
Turnout: 57,909 (73.3%) -4.6
Majority: 10,439 (18.1%)
Swing: -4.6% from Lab to Con
|Lady Walston||Social Democratic||13,142||22.7||N/A|
|D.E. Hyland||Workers Revolutionary||155||0.3||N/A|
|General Election 1979
|Conservative gain from Labour
Majority: 5,102 (8.98%)
|J Wilhelmy||National Front||672||1.18|
|M Bishop||Workers Revolutionary||106||0.19|
|General Election October 1974
|Labour gain from Conservative
Majority: 1,848 (3.76%)
|Sir Harmar Nicholls||Conservative||19,972||40.68|
|Peter J. Boizot||Liberal||7,302||14.87|
|General Election February 1974
Majority: 22 (0.04%)
|Sir Harmar Nicholls||Conservative||20,353||39.55|
|Peter J. Boizot||Liberal||10,772|
|General Election 1970
Majority: 4,565 (8.17%)
|Sir Harmar Nicholls||Conservative||30,227||54.08|
|General Election 1966
Majority: 3 (0.01%)
|Sir Harmar Nicholls||Conservative||23,944||46.07|
|Basil E Goldstone||Liberal||4,093||7.87|
|General Election 1964
Majority: 2,617 (5.07%)
|Sir Harmar Nicholls||Conservative||24,045||46.55|
|General Election 1959
Majority: 4,584 (9.12%)
|General Election 1955
Majority: 3,238 (6.55%)
|General Election 1951
Majority: 373 (0.73%)
|Wolf Isaac Akst||Liberal||2,367||4.64|
|General Election 1950
|Conservative gain from Labour
Majority: 144 (0.29%)
|Stanley Tiffany||Labour Co-op||22,671||45.65|
|Wolf Isaac Akst||Liberal||4,180||8.42|
Elections in the 1940s
|General Election 1945: Peterborough
|Labour gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Peterborough by-election, 1943
|Independent Labour||Samuel Bennett||10,890||47.6|
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 from 1939 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected:
Elections in the 1930s
|General Election 1935: Peterborough
|Labour||Ernest A J Davies||17,373||43.4|
|General Election 1931: Peterborough
|Labour||James Francis Horrabin||14,206||34.8|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
Elections in the 1920s
|General Election 1929: Peterborough|
|Labour||James Francis Horrabin||14,743||39.1|
|Unionist||Sir Henry Leonard Campbell Brassey||14,218||37.7|
|Liberal||James William Francis Hill||8,704||23.1|
|Labour gain from Unionist||Swing|
|General Election 1924: Peterborough
|Unionist||Sir Henry Leonard Campbell Brassey||14,195|
|General Election 1923: Peterborough
|Unionist||Sir Henry Leonard Campbell Brassey||11,634|
|General Election 1922: Peterborough
|Unionist||Sir Henry Leonard Campbell Brassey||13,560|
Elections in the 1910s
|General Election 1918: Peterborough
|Unionist||Maj. Henry Leonard Campbell Brassey †||9,516|
|Liberal||Thomas Ivatt Slater||3,214|
† denotes a candidate endorsed by the Coalition Government
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- The Liberal candidate was Peter J. Boizot, founder of the Pizza Express restaurant chain and now Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire
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