West Suffolk (UK Parliament constituency)
for the House of Commons
Boundary of West Suffolk in Suffolk.
Location of Suffolk within England.
|Electorate||76,158 (December 2010)|
|Major settlements||Newmarket, Haverhill and Mildenhall|
|Member of parliament||Matthew Hancock (Conservative)|
|Number of members||One|
|Created from||Central Suffolk|
|Number of members||Two|
|Type of constituency||County constituency|
|Replaced by||Bury St Edmunds
(also succeeded itself)
North-Western or 'Stowmarket' Division
South or 'Sudbury' Division
|European Parliament constituency||East of England|
The seat saw a relatively long first existence under the Reform Act 1832 merely as a more representative division (with a total of four MPs) instead of two for the former entire county at large, which still allowed for double voting (or more) of those Forty Shilling Freeholders who also were householders or landlords of any particular boroughs within the county. This Act retained the four largest boroughs of the seven before 1832.
With two heirs to their title serving the seat were the Marquesses of Bristol, the Hervey family, major landowners in the county and the modern seat, at Ickworth, part of its grand house now being a luxury hotel.
Equally sweeping changes took place at the end of this period with the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 which here saw the establishment of three single-member constituencies covering much of the former half-county by widening the narrow and underpopulated dual-member seat of Bury St Edmunds: the other two seats being named the North-Western or 'Stowmarket' Division and the South or 'Sudbury' Division.
Its second creation occurred with Parliamentary approval of the Boundary Commission's third periodic review in time for the 1997 election (the first such review having been in 1945, following the Representation of the People Act 1918 review).
- Political history
The seat in this time has only been represented by Conservatives with the narrowest majority having been that of 1997 at only 3.8% of the vote, since which the majority has gradually increased to a level seen most commonly in safe seats.
- Prominent frontbenchers
Richard Spring[n 3] was an opposition spokesman for Foreign Affairs (2000-2004) (shadowing a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister) then Shadow Minister for the Treasury (2004-2005) before being a Vice-Chairman of his party and being elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Risby. Several of his ancestors had previously represented Suffolk in the House of Commons.
The constituency includes the town of Newmarket, the world headquarters of horse racing as well as the towns of Haverhill and Mildenhall with a farmed landscape, interspersed with patches of forest[n 4] and small villages.
Parliament accepted the Boundary Commission's Fifth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies which slightly altered this constituency for the 2010 general election since which it has electoral wards:
- All Saints, Brandon: East and West wards, Eriswell and The Rows, Exning, Great Heath, Iceni, Lakenheath, Manor, Market, Red Lodge, St Mary's, Severals, and South forming the Forest Heath District
- Bardwell, Barningham, Barrow, Chedburgh, Haverhill East, Haverhill North, Haverhill South, Haverhill West, Hundon, Ixworth, Kedington, Risby, Stanton, Wickhambrook, and Withersfield in the St Edmundsbury Borough.
- History of boundaries
Parliament accepted the Boundary Commission's Fifth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies, following the fourth review in 1997, which made slight changes to this constituency for the 2010 general election, namely the loss of minorities of Cavendish, Horringer & Welnetham and Pakenham wards, however full inclusion of the Chedburgh and Risby wards.
This area includes a slightly older demographic profile than the national average, with a significant proportion of semi-detached and detached homes and a higher than average proportion or retired people.
Major economic sectors include defence (RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath), agriculture/food (including for major products as well as regional specialities such as ales, Suffolk cider and cured meats), tourism and leisure (such as Newmarket racecourse) and particularly in Haverhill, a range of industries. These include chemicals (such as International Flavors and Fragrances), waste processing, transport, construction and pharmaceuticals.
Members of Parliament
MPs since 1997
Elections in the 2010s
|General Election 2015: West Suffolk|
|Liberal Democrat||Elfreda Tealby-Watson||2,465||5.0||-18.4|
|General Election 2010: West Suffolk|
|Liberal Democrat||Belinda Brooks-Gordon||11,262||23.4||+6.2|
|Labour||Abul Monsur Ohid Ahmed||7,089||14.7||-14.2|
|Christian Peoples||Colin Young||373||0.8||N/A|
Elections in the 2000s
|General Election 2005: West Suffolk|
|Liberal Democrat||Adrian Graves||7,573||17.1||+5.3|
|General Election 2001: West Suffolk|
|Liberal Democrat||Robin Martlew||5,017||11.8||-2.2|
Elections in the 1990s
|General Election 1997: West Suffolk|
|Liberal Democrat||Adrian Graves||6,892||14.0||N/A|
|Referendum Party||J Carver||3,724||7.6||N/A|
|Natural Law||A Shearer||171||0.3||N/A|
Notes and references
- A county constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
- 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.
- Previously MP for the Bury St Edmunds seat
- For example Thetford Forest, synonymous with Breckland.
- This is the courtesy title given to the eldest son of the Marquess of Bristol as his main subsidiary title.
- "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- So Long and Farewell, Richard Spring Blog
- 2010 post-revision map non-metropolitan areas and unitary authorities of England
- 2011 Census
- Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 6)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 464–364. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- West Suffolk, UKPollingReport
- Labour Party PPCs