West Dorset (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 50°47′20″N 2°35′53″W / 50.7889°N 2.5980°W / 50.7889; -2.5980

West Dorset
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of West Dorset in Dorset.
Outline map
Location of Dorset within England.
County Dorset
Electorate 76,779 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlements Dorchester, Bridport and Sherborne
Current constituency
Created 1885
Member of parliament Oliver Letwin (Conservative)
Number of members One
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency South West England

West Dorset is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1997 by Oliver Letwin, a Conservative.[n 2]

History[edit]

The seat was created under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.

Political history

West Dorset has been served only by Conservative MPs. Historically there have mostly been large majorities; thus the seat can be considered a safe seat. The closest result in recent years was in 2001, when the present member, Oliver Letwin, only just held his seat, with a majority of 2.8% over the Liberal Democrat candidate, Simon Green. The Liberal Democrats have come second since then.

Prominent frontbenchers

Oliver Letwin, with a settled background in policy formulation, was appointed Minister of State for Policy (a Cabinet Office role) in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition on 12 May 2010.

Boundaries[edit]

1885-1918: The Municipal Boroughs of Bridport and Lyme Regis, the Sessional Divisions of Bridport and Cerne, and part of the Sessional Divisions of Dorchester and Sherborne.

1918-1950: The Municipal Boroughs of Bridport, Dorchester, and Lyme Regis, the Rural Districts of Beaminster, Bridport, Cerne, and Dorchester, and part of the Rural District of Weymouth.

1950-1983: The Municipal Boroughs of Bridport, Dorchester, and Lyme Regis, the Urban District of Sherborne, the Rural Districts of Beaminster, Bridport, and Sherborne, and part of the Rural District of Dorchester.

1983-present: The District of West Dorset except the ward of Overmoigne.

The West Dorset constituency covers most of the West Dorset district and includes the towns of Dorchester, the county town of Dorset; Bridport, Lyme Regis and Beaminster to the west; and Sherborne to the north.

Constituency profile[edit]

Aside from tourist areas, including the Jurassic Coast which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the seat draws on managerial and advanced professional skills in sectors such as mechanical engineering, manufacturing, reconditioning, defence, art and design, which support local trades and retail. A slightly greater than average proportion of people are retired.[2] Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.4% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[3]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Year Member[4] Party
1885 Henry Farquharson Conservative Died 1895
1895 Sir Robert Williams Conservative
1922 Sir Philip Colfox Unionist Resigned 1941
1941 Simon Digby Conservative
1974 Sir Jim Spicer Conservative
1997 Sir Oliver Letwin Conservative

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: West Dorset[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Oliver Letwin 28,329 50.2 +2.6
Liberal Democrat Ros Kayes 12,199 21.6 −19.1
UKIP David Glossop 7,055 12.5 +8.7
Labour Rachel Rogers 5,633 10.0 +3.3
Green Peter Barton 3,242 5.7 +4.6
Majority 16,130 28.6
Turnout 56,643 72.6 −2.0
Conservative hold Swing +10.9
General Election 2010: West Dorset[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Oliver Letwin 27,287 47.6 +1.1
Liberal Democrat Sue Farrant 23,364 40.7 −1.2
Labour Steve Bick 3,815 6.7 −1.1
UKIP Oliver Chisholm 2,196 3.8 +1.8
Green Susan Greene 675 1.2 −0.6
Majority 3,923 6.8
Turnout 57,337 74.6 −1.8
Conservative hold Swing +1.1

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: West Dorset[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Oliver Letwin 24,763 46.5 +1.9
Liberal Democrat Justine McGuinness 22,302 41.9 +0.1
Labour Dave Roberts 4,124 7.7 −5.9
UKIP Linda Guest 1,084 2.0 N/A
Green Susan Greene 952 1.8 N/A
Majority 2,461 4.6
Turnout 53,225 76.3 +6.8
Conservative hold Swing +0.9
General Election 2001: West Dorset[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Oliver Letwin 22,126 44.6 +3.5
Liberal Democrat Simon Green 20,712 41.8 +4.1
Labour Richard Hyde 6,733 13.6 −4.1
Majority 1,414 2.8
Turnout 49,571 69.5 −6.6
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: West Dorset[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Oliver Letwin 22,036 41.1
Liberal Democrat Robin AS Legg 20,196 37.7
Labour Robert Bygraves 9,491 17.7
UKIP P. Jenkins 1,590 3.0
Natural Law Mark Griffiths 239 0.4
Majority 1,840 3.4
Turnout 53,552 76.1
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1992: Dorset West[10][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 27,766 50.8 −5.3
Liberal Democrat Robin A.S. Legg 19,756 36.2 +4.5
Labour JPB Mann 7,082 13.0 +0.8
Majority 8,010 14.7 −9.9
Turnout 54,604 81.2 +2.9
Conservative hold Swing −4.9

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Dorset West[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 28,305 56.20
Liberal Trevor Jones 15,941 31.65
Labour D Watson 6,123 12.16
Majority 12,364 24.55
Turnout 78.26
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Dorset West[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 27,030 59.7
Liberal Trevor Jones 13,078 28.9
Labour D Cash 5,168 11.4
Majority 13,952 30.82
Turnout 45,276 74.23
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 26,281 58.71
Liberal Trevor Jones 9,776 21.84
Labour HJ Skevington 7,999 17.87
National Front J Tillotson 514 1.15
Wessex Regionalist G McEwan 192 0.43
Majority 16,505 36.87
Turnout 79.00
Conservative hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 20,517 49.20
Liberal RM Angus 11,832 28.37
Labour PJ Dawe 9,350 22.42
Majority 8,685 20.83
Turnout 77.84
Conservative hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir James Wilton Spicer 21,634 49.00
Liberal R Angus 14,183 32.12
Labour MF Cross 8,333 18.87
Majority 7,451 16.88
Turnout 83.12
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1970: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 21,081 54.15
Labour George Sakwa 10,536 27.06
Liberal Allan Percival 7,314 18.79
Majority 10,545 27.09
Turnout 38,931 76.76
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 17,709 47.68
Labour F Donald Shirreff 11,757 31.65
Liberal Michael Aza Pinney 7,676 20.67
Majority 5,952 16.02
Turnout 80.85
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1964: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 17,841 48.59
Labour Leslie William King 10,631 28.96
Liberal Michael Aza Pinney 8,242 22.45
Majority 7,210 19.64
Turnout 81.68
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 19,747 54.65
Labour Leslie William King 11,536 31.93
Liberal John H. Goodden 4,850 13.42
Majority 8,211 22.72
Turnout 36,133 81.92
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 21,007 59.59
Labour Leslie William King 14,244 40.41
Majority 6,763 19.19
Turnout 35,251 80.07
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1951: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 21,739 60.31
Labour Cambreth John Kane 14,308 39.69
Majority 7,431 20.61
Turnout 82.11
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1950: Dorset West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 18,771 51.75
Labour Cambreth John Kane 11,967 33.00
Liberal Colin Grant Cameron 5,531 15.25
Majority 6,804 18.76
Turnout 83.95
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: West Dorset[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby 13,399 50.1
Labour Cambreth John Kane 8,215 30.8
Liberal George Harold Newsom 5,098 19.1
Majority 5,184 19.3
Turnout 74.7
Conservative hold Swing
West Dorset by-election, 1941[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Kenelm Simon Digby Wingfield Digby unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

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[edit]

General Election 1935: West Dorset[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Philip Colfox 13,825 54.1 -6.1
Liberal George Edwin Chappell 11,735 45.9 +6.1
Majority 2,090 8.2
Turnout 77.9 -3.7
Conservative hold Swing -6.1
General Election 1931: West Dorset[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Philip Colfox 15,510 60.2
Liberal George Edwin Chappell 10,271 39.8
Majority 5,239 20.4
Turnout 81.6
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1929: Dorset West [18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist William Philip Colfox 12,247 49.1 -19.2
Liberal George Edwin Chappell 7,921 31.8 n/a
Labour Thomas Robins 4,770 19.1 -12.6
Majority 4,326 17.3 -19.3
Turnout 80.6 +7.4
Unionist hold Swing n/a
General Election 1924: West Dorset[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist William Philip Colfox 12,426 68.3 +9.5
Labour Mrs Louie Simpson 5,764 31.7 -9.5
Majority 6,662 36.6 +19.0
Turnout 73.2 +2.3
Unionist hold Swing +9.5
General Election 1923: West Dorset[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist William Philip Colfox 10,100 58.8 -3.3
Labour Mrs Louie Simpson 7,087 41.2 +3.3
Majority 3,013 17.6 -6.6
Turnout 70.9 -7.6
Unionist hold Swing -3.3
General Election 1922 : West Dorset[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist William Philip Colfox 11,649 62.1 n/a
Labour T C Duke 7,101 37.9 n/a
Majority 4,548 24.2 n/a
Turnout 78.5 n/a
Unionist hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918 West Dorset[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist unopposed n/a n/a
Unionist hold Swing n/a
  • endorsed by Coalition Government

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 the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected:

General Election December 1910: Dorset West[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a
General Election January 1910: Dorset West [24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams 4,011 59.2 +3.2
Liberal William Saunders Edwards 2,759 40.8 -3.2
Majority 1,252 18.3 +6.4
Turnout
Conservative hold Swing +3.2

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: Dorset West [25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams 3,671 56.4 n/a
Liberal Johnstone J Haye 2,834 43.6 n/a
Majority 837 12.9 n/a
Turnout
Conservative hold Swing n/a
General Election 1900: Dorset West [26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1895: Dorset West [27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a
West Dorset by-election, 1895[28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Williams 3,538 60.3 +3.6
Liberal G W Homer 2,825 2,325[clarification needed] 39.7 -3.6
Majority 1,213 20.7 +7.2
Turnout
Conservative hold Swing +3.6
General Election 1892: Dorset West [29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Henry Richard Farquharson 3,691 56.7 -3.1
Liberal CT Gatty 2,813 43.3 +3.1
Majority 878 13.4
Turnout
Conservative hold Swing -3.1

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1886: Dorset West[30]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Henry Richard Farquharson 3,672 59.8 +8.3
Liberal H Carey G Batten 2,467 40.2 -8.3
Majority 1,205 19.6 +16.6
Turnout
Conservative hold Swing +8.3
General Election 1885: Dorset West [31]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Henry Richard Farquharson 3,507 51.5 n/a
Liberal H Carey G Batten 3,305 48.5 n/a
Majority 202 3.0 n/a
Turnout n/a
Conservative win (new seat)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  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.
References
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ 2011 Census
  3. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  5. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  12. ^ "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  14. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  15. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  16. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  17. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  18. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  19. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  20. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  21. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  22. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  23. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  24. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  25. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  26. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  27. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  28. ^ The Constitiutional Year Book, 1904, published by Conservative Central Office, page 143 (167 in web page), Dorsetshire
  29. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  30. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  31. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig