Politics in Luton

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Luton, England, is a unitary authority, and remains part of the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire. Luton is currently represented on three different tiers of Government.

Luton Borough Council is the local government entity, which is made up of councillors from the 19 wards that split up the town. The current leaders of the council, Hazel Simmons, is in the Labour Party.


Prior to the Local Government Act 1972, Luton had been a county borough, but still part of the county of Bedfordshire. However, with the abolition of the county boroughs, Luton was fully integrated into Bedfordshire and its county council. This wasn't to last however, as in 1992, the Local Government Commission for England, recommended that Luton be made into a unitary authority and be separate of the county council. The government agreed and this was enforced from 1997 onwards.

Luton remains part of Bedfordshire for ceremonial purposes and one Lord Lieutenant serves for the whole ceremonial county.

Luton Borough Council[edit]

Luton Borough Council
Unitary Authority
Founded 1997
Headquarters Luton, Bedfordshire
Website www.luton.gov.uk
Map to show the wards in Luton

The council is split and represented by 19 wards, with a total of 48 councillors. Following the 2011 Local election, 36 are Labour, 8 councillors are Liberal Democrats and 4 are Conservative.

The wards that these councillors represent are:

Local election results[edit]

Luton Local Election Result 2011[1]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 36 11 0 +11 75.0
  Liberal Democrat 8 0 9 -9 16.7
  Conservative 4 0 2 -2 8.3
  Independent 0 0 0 0 0.0
Luton Local Election Result 2007[2]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 26 5 0 +5 54.2
  Liberal Democrat 17 0 4 -4 35.4
  Conservative 5 1 0 +1 10.4
  Independent 0 0 2 -2 0.0

NB: The make up of the council changed between 2003 and 2007, hence the apparent inconsistencies between the councillors in 2003 and the changes recorded for 2007.

LutonLocal Election Result 2003
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 23 0 -13 -13 47.9
  Liberal Democrat 21 11 0 11 43.8
  Conservative 4 1 0 1 8.3
  Independent 1 1 0 1 2.1
Luton Local Election Result 1999
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 36 0 75
  Liberal Democrat 9 18.8
  Conservative 3 6.3
  Independent 0 0.0

1996 Labour council

The council offices are centred on the Town Hall on George street, Luton.

Main article: Luton Town Hall

East of England Regional Assembly[edit]

Whilst not a directly elected body, the East of England Regional Assembly is responsible for promoting the economic, environmental and social well-being of the East England region. It is made up of representatives from councils across the region, business organisations, public sector agencies, education and training bodies, trade unions and co-operatives and the voluntary and community sector.

Police and Crime Commissioner[edit]

The Police and Crime Commissioner is a Bedfordshire county wide post and is held for the Labour Party by Olly Martins.

UK Parliament[edit]

In Luton, there are two constituencies, Luton North and Luton South. The current two members of parliament (MP) are Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North – Labour) since 1997 and Gavin Shuker (Luton South – Labour) since 2010.

From 1979 the MPs from Luton were Conservative, however, in the 1997 General Election, both constituencies were won by the Labour party candidates, these were successfully held at the 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections.

The town of Luton had until 1885 been part of the Bedfordshire constituency which was created in 1290. Upon the abolition of this seat the constituency of Luton was created which remained the only seat in the town until 1974.

In 1974 the single Luton seat was divided into two, Luton West and Luton East. These two seats were fairly short lived and in 1983 the current Luton North and Luton South seats were created.

Over the years Luton has been represented by various political parties, and as can be seen below has often mirrored the Government of the day.

Members of Parliament for Luton constituency[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 Cyril Flower Liberal
1892 Samuel Howard Whitbread
1895 Thomas Gair Ashton Liberal
1911 Cecil Bisshopp Harmsworth Liberal
1922 Sir John Prescott Hewett
1923 Geoffrey William Algernon Howard Liberal
1924 Terence James O'Connor Unionist
1929 Edward Leslie Burgin Liberal
1931 National Liberal
1945 William Warbey Labour
1950 Charles Hill Conservative
1963 William Howie Labour
1970 Charles Simeons Conservative
Feb 1974 Constituency abolished: see Luton East and Luton West

Luton East[edit]

  • Constituency created (1974)
Election Member Party
Feb. 1974 Ivor Clemitson Labour
1979 Graham Bright Conservative
  • Constituency abolished (1983)

Luton West[edit]

  • Constituency created (1974)
Election Member Party
Feb. 1974 Brian Sedgemore Labour
1979 John Russell Carlisle Conservative
  • Constituency abolished (1983)

Luton North[edit]

  • Constituency created (1983)
Election Member Party
1983 John Russell Carlisle Conservative
1987 John Russell Carlisle Conservative
1992 John Russell Carlisle Conservative
1997 Kelvin Hopkins Labour
2001 Kelvin Hopkins Labour
2005 Kelvin Hopkins Labour
2010 Kelvin Hopkins Labour

Luton South[edit]

  • Constituency created (1983)
Election Member Party
1983 Graham Bright Conservative
1987 Graham Bright Conservative
1992 Graham Bright Conservative
1997 Margaret Moran Labour
2001 Margaret Moran Labour
2005 Margaret Moran Labour
2010 Gavin Shuker Labour