Wantage (UK Parliament constituency)

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County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Wantage in Oxfordshire.
Outline map
Location of Oxfordshire within England.
County Oxfordshire
Electorate 82,931 (May 2015)
Major settlements Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford, Faringdon
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of parliament Ed Vaizey (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Abingdon (majority of) (note: abolished)
European Parliament constituency South East England

Wantage (/wɒntɪ/ is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom since 2005 by Ed Vaizey, a Conservative.[n 2]

In terms of electorate, at the time of the 2015 general election, Wantage was the 37th largest of 650 UK seats.


1983-2010: The District of Vale of White Horse wards of Appleton, Craven, Drayton, Faringdon and Littleworth, Greendown, Grove, Harwell and Chilton, Hendred, Icknield, Island Villages, Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor, Longworth, Marcham, Segsbury, Shrivenham, Stanford, Steventon, Sutton Courtenay, The Coxwells, and Upton and Blewbury, and the District of South Oxfordshire wards of Brightwell, Cholsey, Didcot North, Didcot Northbourne, Didcot South, Hagbourne, and Wallingford.

2010-present: The District of Vale of White Horse wards of Blewbury and Upton, Craven, Drayton, Faringdon and The Coxwells, Greendown, Grove, Hanneys, Harwell, Hendreds, Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor, Longworth, Marcham and Shippon, Shrivenham, Stanford, Sutton Courtenay and Appleford, Wantage Charlton, and Wantage Segsbury, and the District of South Oxfordshire wards of Brightwell, Cholsey and Wallingford South, Didcot All Saints, Didcot Ladygrove, Didcot Northbourne, Didcot Park, Hagbourne, and Wallingford North.

In September 2016, the boundary commission proposed to amend the boundaries of five of the six constituencies in Oxfordshire including this seat. The main proposed change would see Wallingford become part of a renamed Henley and Thame constituency. The town of Wallingford would become part of that seat, villages surrounding (including Brightwell-cum-Sotwell and Cholsey) would remain in Wantage. In Oxford West and Abingdon: Appleton, Besselsleigh and Eaton) would become part of Wantage.[1]


The constituency was created in 1983 from parts of the seat of Abingdon. Its first MP was Robert Jackson, who served as a junior minister under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Jackson defected to the Labour Party in 2005 shortly before standing down as an MP for the 2005 general election. At that election, Ed Vaizey was elected as MP for Wantage and 2010-2016 held the post of Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.

Political history

The seat including its forerunner has been won by Conservative Party candidates since 1924. The 2015 result made the seat the 76th-safest of the Conservative Party's 331 seats by percentage of majority.[2]

Other parties

All five parties' candidates achieved more than the deposit-retaining threshold of 5% of the vote in 2015. Social Democrat candidate Winifred Tumin won the largest third-party share of the vote to date, in the 1983 election — 32.3% of the vote.

Constituency profile[edit]

There are three market towns in the constituency: Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage. All have tourist attractions, Wantage having monuments to being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great, Wallingford, ancient enclosure walls of a castle and a medieval bridge.[n 3] Faringdon bears a scar of the English Civil War as its church lost the top of its steeple. The largest town in the constituency is Didcot, which grew up around the Great Western Railway when Isambard Kingdom Brunel built a branch line from its main line between London and Bristol to Oxford, siting the junction at the then-sparsely-populated parish and it has a power station and many major national construction and aggregate industries.

The constituency is mostly rural in character, with more than 400 farms in operation. Included are the Uffington White Horse and The Ridgeway, a prehistoric road, runs along its southern border. The River Thames runs along the northern and western border. The area is affluent and Conservative in nature containing many commuters with fast transport links to London, with Didcot the only area with a strong Labour vote locally. The seat includes international race horse breeders and trainers with racing stables across a broad area that reaches into the Lambourn Downs, crossing over the border into the Newbury seat.

Workless claimants, registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.6% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[3]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[4] Party
1983 Robert Victor Jackson Conservative
2005[5] Labour
2005 Ed Vaizey Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2017: Wantage[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 34,459 54.2 +0.9
Labour Co-op Rachel Eden 17,079 26.9 +10.8
Liberal Democrat Christopher Carrigan 9,234 14.5 +1.5
Green Sue Ap-Roberts 1,546 2.4 -2.7
UKIP David McLeod 1,284 2.0 -10.5
Majority 17,380 27.3 -10.0
Turnout 63,602 72.5 Increase 2.2
Conservative hold Swing Decrease 4.95
General Election 2015: Wantage[7][8][9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 31,092 53.3 +1.3
Labour Stephen Webb 9,343 16.0 +2.1
Liberal Democrat Alex Meredith 7,611 13.1 -14.9
UKIP Lee Upcraft 7,288 12.5 +8.2
Green Kate Prendergast 2,986 5.1 +3.3
Majority 21,749 37.3 +17.2
Turnout 58,320 70.3 +0.3
Conservative hold Swing -0.4
General Election 2010: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 29,284 52.0 +8.9
Liberal Democrat Alan Armitage 15,737 27.9 +0.3
Labour Steven Mitchell 7,855 13.9 -10.0
UKIP Jacqueline Jones 2,421 4.3 +2.8
Green Adam Twine 1,044 1.9 -0.7
Majority 13,547 24.1 +8.7
Turnout 56,341 70.0 +1.9
Conservative hold Swing +4.3

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 22,354 43.0 +3.4
Liberal Democrat Andrew Crawford 14,337 27.6 −0.4
Labour Mark McDonald 12,464 24.0 −4.2
Green Adam Twine 1,332 2.6 +0.4
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 798 1.5 -0.4
English Democrat Gerald Lambourne 646 1.2 N/A
Majority 8,017 15.4 +4.0
Turnout 51,931 68.2 +3.7
Conservative hold Swing +1.9
General Election 2001: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 19,475 39.6 -0.2
Labour Stephen Beer 13,875 28.2 -0.7
Liberal Democrat Neil Fawcett 13,776 28.0 +1.5
Green David Brooks-Saxl 1,062 2.2 +1.0
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 941 1.9 +1.1
Majority 5,600 11.4 +0.5
Turnout 49,129 64.5 -13.6
Conservative hold Swing +0.3

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 22,311 39.81 -14.3
Labour Celia Wilson 16,222 28.94 +7.5
Liberal Democrat Jenny Riley 14,862 26.52 +1.5
Referendum Stuart Rising 1,549 2.76 N/A
Green Miriam Kennet 640 1.14 -0.4
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 465 0.83 N/A
Majority 6,089 10.86 -18.3
Turnout 78.10 -4.6
Conservative hold Swing -10.9
General Election 1992: Wantage[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 30,575 54.1 +0.2
Liberal Democrat RMC Morgan 14,102 25.0 −5.5
Labour VS Woodell 10,955 19.4 +3.8
Green RJ Ely 867 1.5 +1.5
Majority 16,473 29.2 +5.7
Turnout 56,499 82.7 +4.8
Conservative hold Swing +2.8

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 27,951 53.96 +1.08
Social Democratic Winifred Tumin 15,795 30.49 -1.79
Labour Stephen Ladyman 8,055 15.55 +1.08
Majority 12,156 23.47 +2.87
Turnout 77.90 +1.03
Conservative hold Swing +1.4
General Election 1983: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 25,992 52.88
Social Democratic Winifred Tumin 15,867 32.28
Labour AJD Popper 7,115 14.47
Wessex Regionalist AP Mockler 183 0.37
Majority 10,125 20.60
Turnout 76.87
Conservative win (new seat)

Neighbouring constituencies[edit]

See also[edit]


  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.
  3. ^ The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1155 and sent two MPs from 1295 until 1832, see Wallingford (UK Parliament constituency)


Coordinates: 51°36′N 1°26′W / 51.60°N 1.43°W / 51.60; -1.43