Watford (UK Parliament constituency)

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Watford
Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Watford in Hertfordshire.
Outline map
Location of Hertfordshire within England.
County Hertfordshire
Electorate 80,939 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1885
Member of parliament Richard Harrington (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Hertfordshire
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency East of England

Watford is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Richard Harrington, a member of the Conservative Party.[n 2]

History[edit]

Before the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire. Upon this act, it took up the western division of the county, however later seats such as South West Hertfordshire, established in 1950 have reduced its reach, as settlements in those areas, and Watford itself, have grown.

Political history

The seat has been a bellwether of the national result since February 1974, and since 1945 has only voted against the winning party twice: in 1951 and 1970. Watford saw considerable Liberal Democrat opposition in 2005, achieving second place, taking many Labour votes with the Conservative candidate close behind.[2]

Before the 2010 general election it was a three-way marginal seat in which local Tories, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats aimed to garner support for their candidate. This election in Watford was won by Richard Harrington (Con) with 34.9% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats narrowly missed out on the seat with 32.4% of the vote and the defeat for Labour's candidate, Claire Ward, was a pronounced change with 26.7% of the vote.[3]

In 2015, the result saw a significantly increased majority for Harrington of more than 9,000 votes over Labour, whilst the Liberal Democrats fell back to third. The 2017 election saw Labour significantly cut the Conservative majority to 2,092.

Prominent frontbenchers

Dennis Herbert was Deputy Speaker from 1931-1943.

Major John Freeman was only a third-tier (junior) minister in the War Office as MP. His later unusually prominent positions in diplomacy led to his being appointed a member of the Privy Council and thereby being Rt Hon as of 1966.

Tristan Garel-Jones was Minister for Europe for three years of the Major ministry.

Both Herbert and Garel-Jones opted as peers in later life to use Watford as the territorial designation of their peerages.

Boundaries[edit]

1885-1918: Parts of the Sessional Division of Watford and Dacorum.

1918-1950: The Urban Districts of Bushey, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, and Watford, and part of the Rural District of Watford.

1950-1983: The Municipal Borough of Watford.

1983-1997: The Borough of Watford, the District of Three Rivers wards of Abbots Langley and Leavesden, and the District of St Albans wards of Park Street and St Stephens.

1997-present: The Borough of Watford, and the District of Three Rivers wards of Abbots Langley, Carpenders Park, Langleybury, Leavesden, and Oxhey Hall.

The constituency comprises the whole of the Borough of Watford, together with five wards from Three Rivers District. Two of the Three Rivers wards, Carpenders Park and Oxhey Hall, are to the south of Watford town and include mostly prosperous, elevated, commuter villages. The remaining three, Abbots Langley, Langleybury and Leavesden, are to the north of Watford, the first of which is a large village, and due to its relative remoteness from the City of London is mixed in character and levels of income.[4]

Constituency profile[edit]

Watford has a considerable service sector economy, with several notable headquarters, and engineering, trade-craft and distribution in its economy, however is also a commuter town to the City of London. British Waterways, J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, Iveco, manufacturers of commercial vehicles; part of Balfour Beatty; Bathstore, the largest bathroom retailer in the UK; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare are the largest of these. The borough is also the UK base of many multinationals including C.H. Robinson, Total Oil, TK Maxx, Costco, Vinci and Beko appliances. International golf tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championship have taken place at the Grove hotel.

Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 3.0% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[5]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[6] Party Notes
1885 Frederick Halsey Conservative
1906 Nathaniel Micklem QC Liberal
1910 Arnold Ward Conservative
1918 Dennis Herbert Conservative Deputy Speaker (1931-1943)
1943 by-election William Helmore Conservative
1945 Major John Freeman Labour High Commissioner to India (1965–1968) Ambassador to the U.S. (1969–1971)
1955 Frederick Farey-Jones Conservative
1964 Raphael Tuck Labour
1979 Tristan Garel-Jones Conservative Minister for Europe (1990-1993)
1997 Claire Ward Labour Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice (2009-10)
2010 Richard Harrington Conservative Under Secretary of State for Syrian Refugees (2015-16), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions (2016-)

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

Next United Kingdom general election: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Chris Ostrowski[7]
Conservative Richard Harrington
Liberal Democrat
UKIP
Majority
Turnout
General Election 2017: Watford[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Harrington 26,731 45.6 +2.2
Labour Chris Ostrowski 24,639 42.0 +16.0
Liberal Democrat Ian Stotesbury 5,335 9.1 -9.0
UKIP Ian Green 1,184 2.0 -7.7
Green Alex Murray 721 1.2 -1.1
Majority 2,092 3.6 -13.8
Turnout 58,610 67.8 +1.2
Conservative hold Swing -6.9
General Election 2015: Watford[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Harrington 24,400 43.5 +8.5
Labour Matthew Turmaine 14,606 26.0 -0.7
Liberal Democrat Dorothy Thornhill 10,152 18.1 -14.3
UKIP Nick Lincoln 5,481 9.8 +7.6
Green Aidan Cottrell-Boyce 1,332 2.4 +0.8
TUSC Mark O'Connor 178 0.3 +0.3
Majority 9,794 17.4 +14.8
Turnout 56,149 66.6 -1.7
Conservative hold Swing 4.6
General Election 2010: Watford[10][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Harrington 19,291 34.9 +5.3
Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton[n 3] 17,866 32.4 +1.1
Labour Claire Ward 14,750 26.7 -6.8
BNP Andrew Emerson 1,217 2.2 +2.2
UKIP Graham Eardley 1,199 2.2 -0.4
Green Ian Brandon 885 1.6 -1.4
Majority 1,425 2.6
Turnout 55,208 68.3 +3.4
Conservative gain from Labour Swing 6.05
Background to Conservative candidates

In July 2007 former candidate Ali Miraj, a candidate for Aberavon in 2001, was dropped from the candidates list by the Conservative party after he complained about David Cameron's leadership style and allegedly demanded a peerage.[13][14] The public selected his former campaign manager Ian Oakley, who had been a candidate for Newport East in 2001 in the first Open Primary to be organised by the Conservative Party in November 2006. In July 2008, Oakley, withdrew candidature after being arrested for conducting a campaign of harassment against the local Liberal Democrats,[15][16] for which he was convicted and given an 18-week suspended prison sentence and 12 month supervision order on 13 October 2008.[17]

In December 2008 Watford Conservative Association selected a new candidate, Richard Harrington.[18]

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Claire Ward 16,575 33.6 −11.7
Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton 15,427 31.2 +13.8
Conservative Ali Miraj 14,634 29.6 −3.7
Green Steve Rackett 1,466 3.0 +1.1
UKIP Kenneth Wight 1,292 2.6 +1.4
Majority 1,148 2.3
Turnout 49,394 64.8 +3.7
Labour hold Swing -12.8
General Election 2001: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Claire Ward 20,992 45.3 0.0
Conservative Michael McManus 15,437 33.3 -1.5
Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames 8,088 17.4 +0.7
Green Denise Kingsley 900 1.9 N/A
UKIP Edmund Stewart-Mole 535 1.2 N/A
Socialist Alliance Jon Berry 420 0.9 N/A
Majority 5,555 12.0
Turnout 46,372 61.1 -13.5
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Watford[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Claire Ward 25,109 45.3 +11.3
Conservative Robert Gordon 19,227 34.8 -13.3
Liberal Democrat Andrew Canning 9,272 16.8 +0.0
Referendum Philip Roe 1,484 2.7 N/A
Natural Law Leslie Davis 234 0.4 N/A
Majority 5,792 10.5
Turnout 55,236 74.6
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
General Election 1992: Watford[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 29,072 48.8 +0.1
Labour Michael J. Jackson 19,482 32.7 +4.5
Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten 10,231 17.2 −5.9
Green Jeremy Hywel-Davies 566 1.0 N/A
Natural Law Leslie Davis 176 0.3 N/A
Majority 9,590 16.1 −4.4
Turnout 59,527 82.3 +4.4
Conservative hold Swing −2.2

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 27,912 48.7
Labour Michael Jackson 16,176 28.2
Social Democratic Fiona Beckett 13,202 23.1
Majority 11,736 20.5
Turnout 77.9
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 26,273 47.95
Social Democratic P. Burton 14,267 26.04
Labour I. Wilson 14,247 26.00
Majority 12,006 21.91
Turnout 76.10
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Watford[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 21,320 47.64
Labour Tony Banks 18,030 40.28
Liberal B Bodle 5,019 11.21
National Front Brent Cheetham 388 0.87
Majority 3,290 7.35
Turnout 44,757 81.26
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
General Election October 1974: Watford [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Raphael Tuck 19,177 44.28
Conservative Tristan Garel-Jones 15,220 35.14
Liberal Anthony Jacobs 8,243 19.03
National Front Jeremy Wotherspoon 671 1.55
Majority 3,957 9.14
Turnout 77.3
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Watford [23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Raphael Tuck 18,884 40.47
Conservative David W. Clarke 16,089 34.48
Liberal David Jacobs 11,035 23.65
National Front Jeremy Wotherspoon 651 1.4
Majority 2,795 5.99
Turnout 85
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1970: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Raphael Tuck 19,698 45.71
Conservative David W. Clarke 19,622 45.53
Liberal Colin G. Watkins 3,778 8.77
Majority 76 0.18
Turnout 75.44
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Raphael Tuck 23,832 54.38
Conservative David W. Clarke 19,996 45.62
Majority 3,836 8.75
Turnout 82.87
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1964: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Raphael Tuck 20,224 45.18
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 18,744 41.87
Liberal Margaret Neilson 5,797 12.95
Majority 1,480 3.31
Turnout 83.61
Labour gain from Conservative Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 21,216 46.85
Labour Renee Short 18,315 40.44
Liberal Ian S. Steers 5,753 12.70
Majority 2,901 6.41
Turnout 84.82
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Farey-Jones 22,546 51.98
Labour Ashley Bramall 20,829 48.02
Majority 1,717 3.96
Turnout 82.36
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
General Election 1951: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John Freeman 22,370 47.90
Conservative Sydney William Leonard Ripley 21,862 46.81
Liberal Hamilton Brinsley Bush 2,469 5.29
Majority 508 1.09
Turnout 87.18
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John Freeman 21,759 47.36
Conservative Max Bemrose 20,302 44.19
Liberal Hamilton Brinsley Bush 3,879 8.44
Majority 1,457 3.17
Turnout 87.14
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John Freeman 32,138 46.03
Conservative William Helmore 29,944 42.88
Liberal Henry Harben 7,743 11.09
Majority 2,194 3.14
Turnout 73.40
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
Watford by-election, 1943[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Helmore 13,839 53.9 -11.5
Common Wealth Raymond Blackburn 11,838 46.1 n/a
Majority 2,001 7.8 -23.0
Turnout 38.0 +25.6
Conservative hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1935: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Dennis Herbert 28,196 65.42
Labour Stanley Walter Morgan 14,906 34.58
Majority 13,290 30.83
Turnout 63.55
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1931: Watford
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Dennis Herbert 34,076 78.34
Labour Frank Mortimer Jacques 9,423 21.66
Majority 24,653 56.67
Turnout 71.01
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1929: Watford[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Dennis Herbert 18,583 45.9 -8.8
Liberal Edward Terrell 12,288 30.3 +11.6
Labour Herman Macdonald 9,665 23.8 -2.8
Majority 6,295 15.6 -12.5
Turnout 72.4 -0.7
Unionist hold Swing -10.2
Corbett Ashby
General Election 1924: Watford [26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Dennis Herbert 15,271 54.7 +11.7
Labour Herbert Elvin 7,417 26.6 -4.2
Liberal Margery Corbett Ashby 5,205 18.7 -7.5
Majority 7,854 28.1 +15.9
Turnout 73.1 +4.6
Unionist hold Swing +8.0
General Election 1923: Watford [25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Dennis Herbert 10,533 43.0 -6.2
Labour Jimmy Mallon 7,532 30.8 -4.1
Liberal Robert Allen Bateman 6,423 26.2 +10.3
Majority 3,001 12.2 -2.1
Turnout 68.5 -0.5
Unionist hold Swing -1.0
General Election 1922 : Watford [25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Dennis Herbert 12,040 49.2
Labour Jimmy Mallon 8,561 34.9
Liberal Robert Allen Bateman 3,896 15.9
Majority 3,479 14.3
Turnout 69.0
Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

Frank Gray
General Election 1918 Watford [25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
C Unionist Dennis Herbert 11,155 57.2 n/a
Labour George Lathan 4,952 25.4 n/a
Liberal Frank Gray 3,395 17.4 n/a
Majority 6,203 31.8 n/a
Turnout 59.5 n/a
Unionist hold Swing n/a
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.

Election results 1885-1918[edit]

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1885: Watford [27][28][29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Halsey 4,032 52.1 N/A
Liberal George Faudel Phillips 3,712 47.9 N/A
Majority 320 4.2 N/A
Turnout 7,744 77.2 N/A
Registered electors 10,029
Conservative win (new seat)
General Election 1886: Watford [27][28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Halsey Unopposed
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

Halsey
General Election 1892: Watford [27][28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Halsey 4,802 57.0 N/A
Liberal John Marnham 3,627 43.0 N/A
Majority 1,175 14.0 N/A
Turnout 8,429 76.4 N/A
Registered electors 11,037
Conservative hold Swing N/A
General Election 1895: Watford [27][28][30]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Halsey Unopposed
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1900: Watford [27][28][30]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Halsey Unopposed
Conservative hold
Micklem
General Election 1906: Watford [27][28][31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Nathaniel Micklem 7,612 55.4 N/A
Conservative Frederick Halsey 6,136 44.6 N/A
Majority 1,476 10.8 N/A
Turnout 13,748 82.1 N/A
Registered electors 16,741
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing N/A

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

Ward
General Election January 1910: Watford [27][32]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Arnold Ward 8,782 54.8 +10.2
Liberal Nathaniel Micklem 7,231 45.2 -10.2
Majority 1,551 9.6 20.4
Turnout 90.4 +8.3
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +10.2
General Election December 1910: Watford [27][32]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Arnold Ward 8,043 52.9 -1.9
Liberal Nathaniel Micklem 7,160 47.1 +1.9
Majority 883 5.8 -3.8
Turnout 85.8 -4.6
Conservative hold Swing -1.9

General Election 1914/15:

Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ A borough 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. ^ Candidate in the 2005 and 2010 elections, appointed to the House of Lords as Baroness Brinton, November 2010.[12]
References
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Deborah McGurran (15 May 2009). "First electoral test for councils". BBC News. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "BBC News - Election 2010 - Constituency - Watford". news.bbc.co.uk. 
  4. ^ "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics". neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. 
  5. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  6. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 2)
  7. ^ "Who have Labour members picked to fight the general election target seats? - LabourList". 29 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "Election 2017 - Watford". BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Watford, UKPollingReport
  11. ^ Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll - Parliamentary Election 6 May 2010 : Watford Council
  12. ^ Bowcott, Owen (19 November 2010). "Party donors and political apparatchiks appointed working peers". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "Cameron critic axed as MP hopeful". 31 July 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk. 
  14. ^ "Channel 4 News interview transcript". 
  15. ^ Editor, Andrew Porter, Political (20 July 2008). "Arrested Conservative candidate for Watford stands down" – via www.telegraph.co.uk. 
  16. ^ "Police charge Oakley". Watford Observer. 
  17. ^ "'Vile' Oakley escapes jail". Watford Observer. 
  18. ^ Harrison, John (2008-12-17). "Tory candidate: 'I'm confident of victory'". Watford Observer. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  19. ^ http://www.watford.gov.uk/ccm/content/legal-and-democratic/elections/election-results---parliamentary-1-may-1997.en;jsessionid=771DB6CCAFC9B7F2327986A3325099EB
  20. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  21. ^ "UK General Election results: May 1979 [Archive]". www.politicsresources.net. 
  22. ^ "Political Science Resources: links to UK and US politics". www.psr.keele.ac.uk. 
  23. ^ "Political Science Resources: links to UK and US politics". www.psr.keele.ac.uk. 
  24. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  25. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  26. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, F W S Craig
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1974). British Parliamentary Election Results: 1885-1918. London: Macmillan Press. p. 298. ISBN 9781349022984. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  29. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1886
  30. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1901
  31. ^ The Times, 25 January 1906
  32. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  33. ^ Manchester Evening News 31 Jan 1914

Coordinates: 51°39′N 0°24′W / 51.650°N 0.400°W / 51.650; -0.400