Rhondda (UK Parliament constituency)

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Not to be confused with Rhondda (Assembly constituency).
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Rhondda in Wales.
Preserved county Mid Glamorgan
Electorate 52,862 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Porth, Tonypandy, Treherbert, Treorchy, Tylorstown
Current constituency
Created 1974 (1974)
Member of parliament Chris Bryant (Labour)
Number of members One
Created from Rhondda East and Rhondda West
Number of members One
Type of constituency County constituency
Replaced by Rhondda East and Rhondda West
Created from Glamorganshire
Welsh Assembly South Wales Central
European Parliament constituency Wales

Rhondda is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The current MP is Chris Bryant of the Labour Party, first elected at the 2001 general election.


The Westminster constituency of Rhondda is based around the southern edge of the Rhondda Cynon Taf council area, with population centres including Treherbert, Maerdy, Tylorstown, Tonypandy, and Pen-y-Graig. The seat borders the constituencies of Cynon Valley, Ogmore, Pontypridd, and Aberavon.


This constituency was first created under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, for the 1885 general election. For the 1918 general election it was divided into Rhondda East and Rhondda West.

The constituency was re-united in 1974. Since 1974, the constituency has always had a large Labour majority, and in the 1987 general election was the safest seat for any party, anywhere in Britain. In 2001, it was the only seat in the country where Liberal Democrats lost their deposit, and the Conservative Party also lost their deposit in their worst performance outside Northern Ireland.[2]

Early History: the 1885 General Election[edit]

The constituency was formed following the Third Reform Act of 1884, as a result of the rapid growth of population in the two valleys over the previous twenty years. During the 1880s the demand for working men representatives in the ranks of the Parliamentary Liberal Party were increasingly vociferous and there was a precedent for a Liberal-Labour (Lib-Lab) candidate in South Wales as Thomas Halliday had contested Merthyr Tydfil in 1874.

The local trade union, the Rhondda Steam Coal Miners' Association, laid claim to the candidacy as early as 1883, on the basis that the franchise had been extended to many working men within the county constituencies and that in Mabon, their agent for six years they had the ideal candidate.[3] The local Liberal Association, however, formed in early 1885,was dominated by middle-class business and professional men, and included a disproportionate number of colliery officials. . Lewis Davis of Ferndale, brother of David Davis, Maesyffynnon, one of the leading coalowners in the valley, was selected as president of the association.[3] Ministers, including William Morris of Noddfa, Treorchy were also prominent.[4] At a meeting in April 1885 six names were put forward as possible candidates for the nomination, including Lewis Davis, Mabon and Alfred Thomas, a leading figure in the municipal life of Cardiff.[4] Shortly afterwards, Lewis Davis was invited by the Association to be its parliamentary candidate and defeated Mabon in a ballot by 143 votes to 51. In spite of his selection, however, he declined and proposed that his son, the 22-year-old Frederick Lewis Davis, be the candidate. In a further ballot, F.L. Davis again defeated Mabon by 125 votes to 56.[3]

The refusal of the trade union movement to accept this decision and to support an independent campaign by Mabon is regarded as an important watershed in the political history of South Wales. In terms of policy there was little apparent difference between the candidates, with the only notable difference being that Mabon supported the payment of MPs while Davis did not.[3] The campaign was therefore waged on other grounds. Davis's supporters claimed that Mabon lacked legitimacy, having been rejected by the Liberal Association. Mabon's adherents, in turn, claimed that the miners' and held mass meetings throughout the two valleys to promote his candidature long before the middle-class-dominated Association was established.[3] Davis's youth and inexperience was a major issue, although he had qualified as a barrister. There were also claims of intimidation on both sides. Mabon's supporters were said to be victimised at the workplace while several of Davis's meetings were disrupted by violence.[3]

Class therefore became a major issue in the campaign. The vast majority of Mabon' supporters were trade union activists and working men, along with a relatively small number of tradesmen and professionals, some of whom had links of one form or another to the miners' union. These included Walter H. Morgan of Pontypridd, often described as the miners' lawyer. One nonconformist minister, supported Mabon, namely John Salisbury Edwards of Treorchy. In contest, Davis had the support of the vast majority of the middle-classes in the Rhondda, and natural deference together with the paternalistic influence of the Davis family, in the Rhondda Fach in particular, was a factor.[3]

On polling day, Mabon scored a clear and decisive victory.

General Election 1885: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab William Abraham 3,859 56.3
Liberal Frederick Lewis Davies 2,992 43.7
Majority 867 12.6
Turnout 6851 83.5
Lib-Lab win (new seat)

Despite the fierce contest the two wings of the Liberal Party in the Rhondda were soon reconciled. After the result, the Davis family accepted Mabon's victory and he was not challenged thereafter for the parliamentray seat. Following the election, Mabon's supporters established the Rhondda Labour and Liberal Association which shortly afterwards absorbed the rival Liberal Association which had supported Davis.[3] Mabon was returned unopposed the following year.

General Election 1886: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab William Abraham unopposed
Lib-Lab hold Swing

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1885–1918[edit]

Election Member[5] Party
1885 William Abraham Lib-Lab
1910 Labour
1918 constituency abolished: see Rhondda East and Rhondda West

MPs since 1974[edit]

Election Member[5] Party Notes
Feb 1974 Alec Jones Labour Shadow Welsh Secretary 1979-1983. Died in office March 1983; no by-election held due to imminent general election.
1983 Allan Rogers Labour
2001 Chris Bryant Labour


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Rhondda [6] [7] [8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Chris Bryant 15,976 50.7 −4.6
Plaid Cymru Shelley Rees-Owen 8,521 27.0 +8.9
UKIP Ron Hughes 3,998 12.7 +11.5
Conservative Lyn Hudson 2,116 6.7 +0.3
Liberal Democrat George Summers[9] 474 1.5 −9.1
Green Lisa Rapado 453 1.4 N/A
Majority 7,455 23.6 −13.6
Turnout 31,538 60.9 +0.6
Labour hold Swing −6.8
General Election 2010: Rhondda[10][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Chris Bryant 17,183 55.3 −12.8
Plaid Cymru Geraint Davies 5,630 18.1 +2.2
Liberal Democrat Paul Wasley 3,309 10.6 +0.2
Independent Philip Howe 2,599 8.4 +8.4
Conservative Juliette Henderson 1,993 6.4 +0.9
UKIP Taffy John 359 1.2 N/A
Majority 11,553 37.2
Turnout 31,072 60.3 −1.5
Labour hold Swing −7.5

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Chris Bryant 21,198 68.1 −0.2
Plaid Cymru Percy Jones 4,956 15.9 −5.2
Liberal Democrat Karen Roberts 3,264 10.5 +6.0
Conservative Paul Christopher Stuart-Smith 1,730 5.6 +1.0
Majority 16,242 52.1
Turnout 31,148 61.0 +0.4
Labour hold Swing +2.5
General Election 2001: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Chris Bryant 23,230 68.3 −6.1
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 7,183 21.1 +7.8
Conservative Peter James Hobbins 1,557 4.6 +0.8
Liberal Democrat Gavin Cameron Cox 1,525 4.5 −1.2
Independent Glyndwr Jon Summers 507 1.5 N/A
Majority 16,047 47.2
Turnout 34,002 60.6 −10.9
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Allan Rogers 30,381 74.5 +0.0
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 5,450 13.4 +1.6
Liberal Democrat Rodney Berman 2,307 5.7 +0.4
Conservative Steven James Whiting 1,551 3.8 −4.0
Referendum Stephen Michael Gardiner 658 1.6 N/A
Green Kevin Jakeway 460 1.1 N/A
Majority 24,931 61.1
Turnout 40,807 71.5
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1992: Rhondda[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Allan Rogers 34,243 74.5 +1.2
Plaid Cymru Geraint Rhys Davies 5,427 11.8 +2.9
Conservative John Winterson Richards 3,588 7.8 +0.2
Liberal Democrat Paul Nicholls-Jones 2,431 5.3 −3.0
Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) Mark William Fischer 245 0.5 −1.3
Majority 28,816 62.7 −1.6
Turnout 45,934 76.6 −1.4
Labour hold Swing −0.8

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Allan Rogers 35,015 73.4 +11.7
Plaid Cymru Geraint Rhys Davies 4,261 8.9 −1.3
Social Democratic John Robert York-Williams 3,930 8.2 −8.7
Conservative Stephen Henry Reid 3,611 7.8 −0.5
Communist Arthur True 869 1.8 −1.0
Majority 30,754 64.5
Turnout 47,686 78.3
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1983: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Allan Rogers 29,448 61.7
Social Democratic Allan William Lloyd 8,078 16.9
Plaid Cymru Geraint Rhys Davies 4,845 10.2
Conservative Peter John Herman Meyer 3,973 8.3
Communist Arthur True 1,350 2.8
Majority 21,370 44.8
Turnout 47,694 76.2
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Alec Jones 38,007 75.2 −1.9
Conservative Peter Leyshon 6,526 12.9 +5.4
Plaid Cymru Glyn Powell James 4,226 10.2 +1.9
Communist Arthur True 1,819 3.6 +0.8
Majority 31,481 62.2
Turnout 79.8 +3.6
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Alec Jones 38,654 77.1 +6.4
Plaid Cymru Donald Morgan 4,173 8.3 −4.6
Conservative Peter Leyshon 3,739 7.5 −0.4
Liberal Dennis James Austin 2,142 4.3 −1.6
Communist Arthur True 1,404 2.8 +0.2
Majority 34,481 68.8
Turnout 76.2 −3.8
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Alec Jones 36,880 70.7 N/A
Plaid Cymru Glyn Powell James 6,739 12.9 N/A
Conservative Peter Leyshon 4,111 7.9 N/A
Liberal Dennis James Austin 3,056 5.9 N/A
Communist Arthur True 1,374 2.6 N/A
Majority 30,141 57.8 N/A
Turnout 80.0 N/A
Labour win (new seat)

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election December 1910: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab William Abraham 9,073 71
Conservative Harold Lloyd 3,701 29
Majority 5372 56.4
Turnout 12,774 72.4 -17.8
Lib-Lab hold Swing
General Election January 1910: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab William Abraham 12,436 78.2
Conservative Harold Lloyd 3,471 21.8
Majority 8,965 56.4
Turnout 15907 90.2
Lib-Lab hold Swing
William Abraham
General Election 1900: Rhondda
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab William Abraham 8,383 81.7
Conservative Robert Hughes 1,874 18.3
Majority 6509 63.4
Turnout 12,549 81.7
Lib-Lab hold Swing

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

In the 1892 and 1896 general elections William Abraham was re-elected unopposed.

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

In the 1886 general election William Abraham was re-elected unopposed.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Beyond 20/20 WDS - Table view". 2011 Electorate Figures. StatsWales. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived 25 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Williams. Democratic Rhondda. pp. 33–7. 
  4. ^ a b "The Rhondda Valley Liberal Three Hundred". Cardiff Times. 11 April 1885. Retrieved 16 May 2014. .
  5. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  6. ^ "Rhondda 2015". Parliamentary General Elections 2015. Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  7. ^ total electorate 51,811 email from Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council 19Aug15
  8. ^ http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/rhondda/
  9. ^ http://www.libdems.org.uk/general_election_candidates#Wales
  10. ^ Rhondda Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council - candidates Rhondda
  11. ^ Rhondda BBC Election - Rhondda
  12. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 


External links[edit]