The re-created constituency, from 1997, has continued a trend of large Conservative Party majorities. In local elections the major opposition party has been the Liberal Democrats, who have had councillors particularly in the town of Windsor itself. Affluent villages and small towns along the River Thames and around the Great Park have continued to contribute to large Conservative majorities, from Wraysbury to Ascot. The only ward with any substantial Labour support is in Colnbrook with Poyle, based in Slough.
Containing one of the least social welfare-dependent demographics and among the highest property prices, the seat has the third highest Conservative share of the vote in the country. At the 2010 election, only two areas voted more strongly towards the Conservative Party: Richmond (Yorks) foremost followed by Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.
Windsor has had parliamentary representation for centuries, first sending a member in 1301, and continuously from 1424. It elected two members of parliament until 1868, when the constituency was reformed and its representation reduced to one MP. In 1974, the constituency was abolished and a similar one, Windsor and Maidenhead was created. However, in 1997 the constituency was recreated.
The early political history of the area was strongly influenced by the monarch and members of his or her family. Windsor Castle has been an important royal residence throughout the history of the constituency.
The pre-1832 franchise of the borough was held by inhabitants paying scot and lot (a local tax). On 2 May 1689 the House of Commons had decided that the electorate should be limited to the members of Windsor Corporation. This was disputed after the next election, in 1690, when the Mayor submitted two returns of different members. The House of Commons reversed the decision of the previous Parliament and confirmed the scot and lot franchise.
King George III became personally involved in the hotly contested 1780 general election. George encouraged local landowner Peniston Portlock Powney to stand by paying him £2,500 from the King's personal account. The King wished to defeat Admiral Keppel (later Viscount Keppel), an incumbent. The monarch went so far as to canvass tradesmen who dealt with the royal household. After this royal interference in the election, Keppel lost by a narrow 16 votes. Namier and Brooke suggest the Windsor electorate had an independent streak and were difficult to manage.
In 1832 a new property based franchise replaced the scot and lot qualification. Under the new system, there were 507 registered electors in 1832. The borough representatives before the Reform Act 1832 included soldiers and people connected with the Royal Household, such as Sir Richard Hussey Vivian (MP 1826–1831) and Sir Herbert Taylor (MP 1820–1823). The constituency also returned politicians prominent in national politics, like the Duke of Wellington's elder brother the Earl of Mornington in the 1780s and 1790s or the future Prime Minister Edward Stanley (subsequently the Earl of Derby) in the early 1830s).
The Ramsbottom family filled one seat from 1806 until 1845. The borough had been loyal to the King's Pittite/Tory ministers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but became more favourable to the Whig interest after John Ramsbottom (MP 1810–1845) was elected.
By the 1860s the monarch had ceased to interfere in local affairs. The borough fell under the patronage of Colonel R. Richardson-Gardner. Richardson-Gardner was a local landowner, who caused some animosity when following the 1868 general election he evicted tenants who did not support him at the polls. This was the last Parliamentary election the Conservatives lost in Windsor.
Despite (or perhaps because of) his methods, Richardson-Gardner was elected to Parliament in 1874.
Successive Conservative MPs, before the First World War, had considerable influence in the constituency; especially when they subscribed generously to local institutions such as a hospital.
The county division created in 1918 combined the town of Windsor, with territory to its west, south and east which had formerly been in the Wokingham division. The incumbent MP for Wokingham up to 1918, Ernest Gardner, was the first representative of the expanded Windsor constituency. The Conservative Party retained the seat continuously, until 1974 when a Windsor constituency temporarily disappeared from the House of Commons.
1868–1918: The boundaries of the parliamentary borough were extended by the Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1868 (31 & 32 Vict., c. 46) to include the villages of Clewer and Eton (the latter being in Buckinghamshire, north of the Thames). Between 1885–1918 the seat to the north of the Thames was the Wycombe division of Buckinghamshire and the other neighbouring constituency was the Wokingham division of Berkshire.
The new constituency comprised the bulk of the abolished Wokingham division, including Maidenhead and rural areas surrounding Windsor and Maidenhead, but excluding the Municipal Borough of Wokingham itself, and incorporating the abolished Borough, with the exception of Eton, which was added to the Wycombe division of Buckinghamshire.
1950–1974: The constituency was reduced in size by the Representation of the People Act 1948, comprising the Municipal Boroughs of New Windsor and Maidenhead, with the Rural Districts of Cookham and Windsor. Rural areas, including the Rural District of Easthampstead (which incorporated Bracknell) were transferred to the re-established County Constituency of Wokingham.
1997–2010: For the 1997 general election, in order to effect an increase in Berkshire's representation from 7 to 8 MPs in accordance with the Fourth Periodic Review of Westminster Constituencies, the Windsor and Maidenhead constituency was abolished and two separate constituencies of Maidenhead and Windsor were created. The majority of the electorate in the abolished constituency was included in Maidenhead, whilst Windsor was joined by Eton and Bray. It also included a ward of Slough Borough Council north of the Thames, which was transferred from the Borough Constituency of Slough, and was extended southwards to include a part of the abolished constituency of East Berkshire, including Ascot and Sunningdale.
The Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead wards of Ascot & Sunninghill, Clewer & Dedworth East, Clewer & Dedworth West, Clewer East, Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury, Eton & Castle, Old Windsor and Sunningdale & Cheapside.
In 1998 there was a small re-alignment of county boundaries in the north east corner of Berkshire. This transferred to the Borough of Slough a small polling district from Surrey and another from Buckinghamshire to form Colnbrook and Poyle This new ward (since renamed Colnbrook with Poyle) was selected for the Windsor constituency, though involved two polling districts (the typically three-four subdivisions of wards).
The constituency gained the northern part of the County Constituency of Bracknell, including Binfield. Bray was transferred to Maidenhead and the Foxborough ward of the Borough of Slough returned to the Borough Constituency thereof.
Burgesses in the English Parliament 1510–1707
As there were sometimes significant gaps between Parliaments held in this period, the dates of first assembly and dissolution are given. Where the name of the member has not yet been ascertained or (in the 16th century) is not recorded in a surviving document, the entry unknown is entered in the table.
The Roman numerals after some names are those used in The House of Commons 1509–1558 and The House of Commons 1558–1603 to distinguish a member from another politician of the same name.
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 and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;
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;
The bloc vote electoral system was used in two seat elections and first past the post for single member by-elections and general elections from 1868. Each voter had up to as many votes as there were seats to be filled. Votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings (until the secret ballot was introduced in 1872).
Note on percentage change calculations: Where there was only one candidate of a party in successive elections, for the same number of seats, change is calculated on the party percentage vote. Where there was more than one candidate, in one or both successive elections for the same number of seats, then change is calculated on the individual percentage vote.
Note on sources: The information for the election results given below is taken from Cruickshanks et al. 1690–1715, Sedgwick 1715–1754, Namier and Brooke 1754–1790, Stooks Smith 1790–1832 and from Craig thereafter. Where Stooks Smith gives additional information or differs from the other sources this is indicated in a note after the result. When a candidate is described as Non Partisan for an election this means that the sources used do not give a party label. This does not necessarily mean that the candidate did not regard himself as a member of a party or acted as such in Parliament. Craig's party labels have been varied to take account of the development of parties. Tory candidates are classified as Conservative from the 1835 United Kingdom general election. Whig and Radical candidates are classified separately until the formal establishment of the Liberal Party shortly after the 1859 United Kingdom general election.
Note (1857): As the number of electors who voted is unascertained, the minimum turnout is calculated by dividing the number of votes by two. To the extent that voters did not use both their votes the turnout figure will be an underestimate.
Note (1832): Stooks Smith classified Ramsbottom as a Radical candidate from this election. However as Stenton, editing a book composed of Parliamentary biographies published by a contemporary after the Reform Act 1832, described Ramsbottom as being 'of Whig principles' he continues to be classified as a Whig in this article.
Seat vacated after the appointment of Lord Vere Beauclerk to an office.
A double return was made. The House of Commons decided the correct result was Beauclerk 240 (60.00%) and Oldfield 160 (40.00%); a majority of 80 (20.00%). Beauclerk was declared duly elected on 27 March 1738.
Note: There is a discrepancy between sources, as The House of Common 1690–1715 indicates that Wren was elected at this election; whereas Leigh Rayment indicates Sir Algernon May was re-elected; both with Baptist May.
On petition, Wren and May were unseated and Porter and Adderley were seated on 17 May 1690.
^As with all constituencies in their modern form, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years, until 1868 the constituency as a parliamentary borough had the right to send two to most Parliaments.
^From 1974 the local government county boundary changed to add to Berkshire part of the territory north of the Thames. Eton, Horton and Wraysbury were put into Windsor's borough. Currently Colnbrook in Slough Borough Council is in the seat but the Commission intend to add this to Spelthorne and exchange it for another Slough ward
^Sometimes known as New Windsor to distinguish it from the adjoining settlement of Old Windsor which was at the time still in Surrey
^Date when Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament by force.
^Date when the members of the nominated or Barebones Parliament were selected. The parliamentary borough of Windsor was not represented in this body.
^Date when the members of the First Protectorate Parliament were elected. The parliamentary borough of Windsor was not represented in this body. Windsor formed part of the county constituency of Berkshire for this Parliament.
^Date when the members of the Second Protectorate Parliament were elected. The parliamentary borough of Windsor was not represented in this body. Windsor formed part of the county constituency of Berkshire for this Parliament.
^The Rump Parliament was recalled and subsequently Pride's Purge was reversed, allowing the full Long Parliament to meet until it agreed to dissolve itself.
^The MPs of the last Parliament of England and 45 members co-opted from the former Parliament of Scotland, became the House of Commons of the 1st Parliament of Great Britain which assembled on 23 October 1707 (see below for the members in that Parliament).
^Constituency reduced to one seat and electorate expanded by the Reform Act 1867, with the constituency boundaries changed by the Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1868, to take effect from the next general election.