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 Owermoigne.

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]

Election Member[4] Party Notes
1885 Henry Farquharson Conservative Died 1895
1895 by-election Robert Williams Conservative
1922 Philip Colfox Conservative Resigned 1941
1941 by-election Simon Digby Conservative
Feb 1974 Jim Spicer Conservative
1997 Oliver Letwin Conservative

Elections[edit]

General Election 2017: West Dorset
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Andy Canning
Green Kelvin Clayton
Conservative Oliver Letwin
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

Past elections[edit]

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
General election, May 2010 [6]
Electorate: 76,869
Turnout: 57,337 (74.6%) −1.8
Conservative hold
Majority: 3,923 (6.8%)
Swing: 1.1% from Lib Dem to Con
Oliver Letwin Conservative 27,287 47.6 +1.1
Sue Farrant Liberal Democrat 23,364 40.7 −1.2
Steve Bick Labour 3,815 6.7 −1.1
Oliver Chisholm UKIP 2,196 3.8 +1.8
Susan Greene Green 675 1.2 −0.6
General election, May 2005 [7]
Electorate: 69,643
Turnout: 53,225 (74.6%) +6.8
Conservative hold
Majority: 2,461 (4.6%)
Swing: 0.9% from Lib Dem to Con
Oliver Letwin Conservative 24,763 46.5 +1.9
Justine McGuinness Liberal Democrat 22,302 41.9 +0.1
Dave Roberts Labour 4,124 7.7 −5.9
Linda Guest UKIP 1,084 2.0 n/a
Susan Greene Green 952 1.8 n/a
General election, June 2001 [8]
Electorate: 71,291
Turnout: 49,571 (69.5%) −6.6
Conservative hold
Majority: 1,414 (2.8%)
Swing: 0.3% from Con to Lib Dem
Oliver Letwin Conservative 22,126 44.6 +3.5
Simon Green Liberal Democrat 20,712 41.8 +4.1
Richard Hyde Labour 6,733 13.6 −4.1
General election, May 1997 [8]
Electorate: 70,369
Turnout: 53,552 (76.1%) −5.1
Conservative hold
Majority: 1,840 (3.4%)
Swing: 5.6% from Con to Lib Dem
Oliver Letwin Conservative 22,036 41.1 −9.7
Robin Legg Liberal Democrat 20,196 37.7 +1.5
Robert Bygraves Labour 9,497 17.7 +4.7
P Jenkins UKIP 1,590 3.0 n/a
Mark Griffiths Natural Law 239 0.4 n/a
General election, April 1992 [9]
Electorate: 67,256
Turnout: 54,604 (81.2%) +2.9
Conservative hold
Majority: 8,010 (14.7%)
Swing: 5.0% from Con to Lib Dem
James Spicer Conservative 27,766 50.8 −5.4
Robin Legg Liberal Democrat 19,756 36.2 +4.5
JPB Mann Labour 7,082 13.0 +0.8
General election, June 1987 [10]
Electorate: 64,360
Turnout: 78.3% (+4.1)
Conservative hold
Majority: 12,364 (24.6%)
Swing: 3.2% from Con to Lib
James Spicer Conservative 28,305 56.2 −3.5
Trevor Jones Liberal 15,941 31.7 +2.8
D Watson Labour 6,123 12.2 +3.4
General election, June 1983 [11]
Electorate: 60,997
Turnout: 74.2% (−4.8)
Conservative hold
Majority: 13,952 (30.1%)
Swing: 4.1% from Con to Lib
James Spicer Conservative 27,030 59.7 +1.0
Trevor Jones Liberal 13,078 28.9 +7.1
D Cash Labour 5,168 8.8 −19.1
General election, May 1979 [12]
Electorate: 56,658
Turnout: 79.0% (+1.2)
Conservative hold
Majority: 16,505 (36.9%)
Swing: 8.1% from Lib to Con
James Spicer Conservative 26,281 58.7 +9.5
Trevor Jones Liberal 9,776 21.8 −6.6
HJ Skevington Labour 7,999 17.9 −4.5
J Tillotson National Front 514 1.2 n/a
G McEwan Wessex Regionalist 192 0.4 n/a
General election, October 1974 [13]
Electorate: 53,569
Turnout: 77.8% (−5.3)
Conservative hold
Majority: 8,685 (20.8%)
Swing: 2.0% from Lib to Con
James Spicer Conservative 20,517 49.2 +0.2
RM Angus Liberal 11,832 28.4 −3.7
PJ Dawe Labour 9,350 22.4 −3.5
General election, February 1974 [14]
Electorate: 53,116
Turnout: 83.1% (+6.3)
Conservative hold
Majority: 7,451 (16.9%)
Swing: 9.2% from Con to Lib
James Spicer Conservative 21,634 49.0 −5.1
RM Angus Liberal 14,183 32.1 +13.3
MF Cross Labour 8,333 18.9 −8.2
General election, June 1970 [15]
Electorate: 50,716
Turnout: 38,931 (76.8%) −4.1
Conservative hold
Majority: 10,545 (27.1%)
Swing: 5.6% from Lab to Con
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 21,081 54.2 +6.5
George Sakwa Labour 10,536 27.1 −4.6
Allan Percival Liberal 7,314 18.8 −1.9
General election, March 1966 [16]
Electorate: 45,937
Turnout: 80.9% (−0.8)
Conservative hold
Majority: 5,952 (16.0%)
Swing: 1.8% from Con to Lab
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 17,709 47.7 −0.9
Donald Shirreff Labour 11,757 31.7 +2.7
Aza Pinney Liberal 7,676 20.7 −1.8
General election, October 1964 [17]
Electorate: 44,951
Turnout: 81.7% (−0.2)
Conservative hold
Majority: 7,210 (19.6%)
Swing: 4.5% from Con to Lab
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 17,841 48.6 −6.1
Leslie King Labour 10,631 29.0 −2.9
Aza Pinney Liberal 8,242 22.5 +9.1
General election, October 1959 [18]
Electorate: 44,109
Turnout: 81.9% (+1.8)
Conservative hold
Majority: 8,211 (22.7%)
Swing: 6.7% from Lab to Con
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 19,747 54.7 −4.9
Leslie King Labour 11,536 31.9 −8.5
John Goodden Liberal 4,850 13.4 n/a
General election, May 1955 [19]
Electorate: 44,026
Turnout: 80.1% (−2.0)
Conservative hold
Majority: 6,763 (19.2%)
Swing: 0.7% from Con to Lab
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 21,007 59.6 −0.7
Leslie King Labour 14,244 40.4 +0.7
General election, October 1951 [20]
Electorate: 43,900
Turnout: 82.1% (−1.9)
Conservative hold
Majority: 7,431 (20.6%)
Swing: 7.6% from Lab to Con
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 21,739 60.3 +8.5
Cambreth John Kane Labour 14,308 39.7 +6.7
General election, February 1950 [21]
Electorate: 43,202
Turnout: 84.0% (+9.3)
Conservative hold
Majority: 6,804 (18.8%)
Swing: 2.0% from Con to Lab
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 18,771 51.8 +1.7
Cambreth John Kane Labour 11,967 33.0 +2.2
Colin Grant Cameron Liberal 5,531 15.3 −3.8
General election, July 1945 [22]
Electorate: 35,780
Turnout: 74.7%
Conservative hold
Majority: 5,184 (19.3%)
Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative 13,399 50.1 n/a
Cambreth John Kane Labour 8,215 30.8 n/a
George Harold Newsom Liberal 5,098 19.1 n/a
By-election, June 1941
Resignation of Philip Colfox
Conservative hold Simon Wingfield Digby Conservative unopposed
General election, November 1935 [23]
Electorate: 32,817
Turnout: 77.9% (−3.7)
Conservative hold
Majority: 2,090 (8.2%)
Swing: 6.1% from Con to Lib
Philip Colfox Conservative 13,825 54.1 −6.1
George Chappell Liberal 11,735 45.9 +6.1
General election, October 1931 [24]
Electorate: 31,590
Turnout: 81.6% (+1.0)
Conservative hold
Majority: 5,239 (20.4%)
Philip Colfox Conservative 15,510 60.2 +11.1
George Chappell Liberal 10,271 39.8 +8.0
General election, May 1929 [25]
Electorate: 30,946
Turnout: 80.6% (+7.4)
Unionist hold
Majority: 4,326 (17.3%)
Philip Colfox Unionist 12,247 49.1 +19.2
George Chappell Liberal 7,921 31.8 n/a
Thomas Robins Labour 4,770 19.1 −12.6
General election, October 1924 [25]
Electorate: 24,852
Turnout: 73.2% (+2.3)
Unionist hold
Majority: 6,662 (36.6%)
Philip Colfox Unionist 12,426 68.3 +9.5
Louie Simpson Labour 5,764 31.7 −9.5
General election, December 1923 [25]
Electorate: 24,242
Turnout: 70.9% (−7.6)
Unionist hold
Majority: 3,013 (17.6%)
Philip Colfox Unionist 10,100 58.8 −3.3
Louie Simpson Labour 7,087 41.2 +3.3
General election, November 1922 [25]
Electorate: 23,885
Turnout: 78.5%
Unionist hold
Majority: 4,548 (24.2%)
Philip Colfox Unionist 11,649 62.1 n/a
TC Duke Labour 7,101 37.9 n/a
General election, December 1918 [26]
Electorate: 23,621
Unionist hold Robert Williams Unionist unopposed
General election, December 1910 [26]
Electorate: 7,576
Unionist hold Robert Williams Unionist unopposed
General election, January 1910 [26]
Electorate: 7,576
Unionist hold
Majority: 1,252 (18.3%)
Robert Williams Unionist 4,011 59.2 +3.2
WS Edwards Liberal 2,759 40.8 −3.2
General election, 1906 [26]
Electorate: 7,413
Unionist hold
Majority: 837 (12.9%)
Robert Williams Unionist 3,671 56.4 n/a
JJ Haye Liberal 2,834 43.6 n/a
General election, 1900 [26]
Electorate: 7,448
Conservative hold Robert Williams Conservative unopposed
General election, 1895 [26] Conservative hold Robert Williams Conservative unopposed
By-election, May 1895 [26]
Death of Henry Richard Farquharson
Conservative hold
Majority: 1,213 (20.7%)
Robert Williams Conservative 3,538 60.3 +3.6
GW Homer Independent Liberal 2,325 39.7 −3.6
General election, 1892 [26]
Electorate: 7,747
Conservative hold
Majority: 878 (13.5%)
Henry Richard Farquharson Conservative 3,691 56.7 −3.1
CT Gatty Liberal 2,813 43.3 +3.1
General election, 1886 [26]
Electorate: 7,914
Conservative hold
Majority: 1,205 (19.6%)
Henry Richard Farquharson Conservative 3,672 59.8 +8.3
HCG Batten Liberal 2,467 40.2 −8.3
General election, 1885 [26]
new seat
Conservative win
Majority: 202 (3.0%)
Henry Richard Farquharson Conservative 3,507 51.5 n/a
H Carey Batten Liberal 3,305 48.5 n/a

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. ^ "UK General Election results May 2010". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "UK General Election results May 2005". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "UK General Election results 1997 & 2001: Dorset West". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "UK General Election results June 1987". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "UK General Election results June 1983". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "UK General Election results May 1979". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "UK General Election results October 1974". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "UK General Election results February 1974". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "UK General Election results June 1970". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "UK General Election results March 1966". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "UK General Election results October 1964". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "UK General Election results October 1959". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "UK General Election results May 1955". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "UK General Election results October 1951". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "UK General Election results February 1950". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "UK General Election results July 1945". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "UK General Election results November 1935". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "UK General Election results October 1931". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 337. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 266. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.