| Borough constituency |
for the House of Commons
Boundary of Watford in Hertfordshire
Location of Hertfordshire within England
|Electorate||80,939 (December 2010)|
|Member of Parliament||Richard Harrington (Conservative)|
|Number of members||One|
|European Parliament constituency||East of England|
Watford is a constituencyrepresented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Richard Harrington, a former member of the Conservative Party who since 3 September 2019 has sat as an independent MP.
The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament or Westminster, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.
Richard Irwin Harrington is a British politician, businessman, and former property developer and hotelier. Since the 2010 general election he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Watford. He was the Minister for Business & Industry from June 2017 to March 2019. First elected as a Conservative, Harrington had the Conservative whip removed on 3 September 2019 and currently sits as an independent politician.
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.
The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was a piece of electoral reform legislation that redistributed the seats in the House of Commons, introducing the concept of equally populated constituencies, a concept in the broader global context termed equal apportionment, in an attempt to equalise representation across the UK. It was associated with, but not part of, the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Hertfordshire was a county constituency covering the county of Hertfordshire in England. It returned two Knights of the Shire to the House of Commons of England until 1707, then to the House of Commons of Great Britain until 1800, and to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1800 until 1832. The Reform Act 1832 gave the county a third seat with effect from the 1832 general election.
South West Hertfordshire is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by David Gauke, an independent MP, formerly a Conservative.
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.
A bellwether is an individual who either leads or indicates trends; a trendsetter.
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held twenty months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. The Labour government called a snap election for Thursday 25 October 1951 hoping to increase their parliamentary majority. However, despite winning the popular vote and achieving both their highest-ever total vote and percentage vote share, Labour were defeated by the Conservative Party. This election marked the beginning of the Labour Party's thirteen-year spell in opposition, and the return of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. This was the final general election to be held with George VI as monarch, as he died the following year on 6 February and was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II.
The 1970 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 18 June 1970. It resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, which defeated the governing Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The Liberal Party, under its new leader Jeremy Thorpe, lost half its seats. The Conservatives, including the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), secured a majority of 31 seats. This general election was the first in which people could vote from the age of 18, after passage of the Representation of the People Act the previous year.
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.
A marginal seat or swing seat is a constituency held with a small majority in a legislative election, generally one conducted under a single-winner voting system. In Canada, they may be known as target ridings. The opposite is a safe seat.
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.
Dennis Herbert was Deputy Speaker from 1931 to 1943.
Dennis Henry Herbert, 1st Baron Hemingford, was a British Conservative politician.
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.
Major John Horace Freeman, was a British politician, diplomat and broadcaster. He was the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Watford from 1945 to 1955.
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, commonly known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or simply the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
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.
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 .
1885–1918: Parts of the Sessional Division of Watford and Dacorum.
The constituency was established by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 (which followed on from the Third Reform Act) as one of four Divisions of the abolished three-member Parliamentary County of Hertfordshire, and was formally named as the Western or Watford Division of Hertfordshire. It included the towns of Watford, Rickmansworth, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring.
1918–1950: The Urban Districts of Bushey, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, and Watford, and the Rural District of Watford parishes of Aldenham, Rickmansworth Rural and Watford Rural.
Aldenham transferred from St Albans. Northern half of constituency, including Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring transferred to the new Hemel Hempstead Division.
1950–1983: Reconstituted as a Borough Constituency comprising the Municipal Borough of Watford.Remainder of the constituency formed the bulk of the new County Constituency of South West Hertfordshire.
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.
Abbots Langley and Leavesden transferred from South West Hertfordshire and Park Street and St Stephens from the abolished County Constituency of South Hertfordshire.
1997–present: The Borough of Watford, and the District of Three Rivers wards of Abbots Langley, Carpenders Park, Langleybury, Leavesden, and Oxhey Hall.
Three wards further wards in the Three Rivers District transferred from South West Hertfordshire. Park Street and St Stephens transferred to St Albans.
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 is mixed in character and levels of income.
The Boundary Commission for England submitted their final proposals in respect of the Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster Constituencies (the 2018 review) in September 2018. If these proposals are approved by Parliament they will reduce the total number of MPs from 650 to 600 and come into effect at the next UK general election which is due to take place in May 2022 under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.
The Commission has recommended that Abbotts Langley and Leavesden, together with the northern-most Borough of Watford ward of Woodside, be transferred to St Albans. To partly compensate, South Oxhey, to the south of Watford, would be transferred from South West Hertfordshire.
|1906||Nathaniel Micklem QC||Liberal|
|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)|
|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 (2016–17)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Industry (2017-19)
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Stotesbury|
|Brexit Party||William Berry|
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Stotesbury||5,335||9.1||-9.0|
|Liberal Democrat||Dorothy Thornhill||10,152||18.1||-14.3|
|Liberal Democrat||Sal Brinton||17,866||32.4||+1.1|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing||6.05|
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.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, for which he was convicted and given an 18-week suspended prison sentence and 12-month supervision order on 13 October 2008.
In December 2008 Watford Conservative Association selected a new candidate, Richard Harrington.
|Liberal Democrat||Sal Brinton||15,427||31.2||+13.8|
|Liberal Democrat||Duncan Hames||8,088||17.4||+0.7|
|Socialist Alliance||Jon Berry||420||0.9||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat||Andrew Canning||9,272||16.8||+0.0|
|Natural Law||Leslie Davis||234||0.4||N/A|
|Labour gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Labour||Michael J. Jackson||19,482||32.7||+4.5|
|Liberal Democrat||Mark Oaten||10,231||17.2||−5.9|
|Natural Law||Leslie Davis||176||0.3||N/A|
|Social Democratic||Fiona Beckett||13,202||23.1|
|Social Democratic||P. Burton||14,267||26.04|
|National Front||Brent Cheetham||388||0.87|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
|National Front||Jeremy Wotherspoon||671||1.55|
|Conservative||David W. Clarke||16,089||34.48|
|National Front||Jeremy Wotherspoon||651||1.4|
|Conservative||David W. Clarke||19,622||45.53|
|Liberal||Colin G. Watkins||3,778||8.77|
|Conservative||David W. Clarke||19,996||45.62|
|Labour gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Liberal||Ian S. Steers||5,753||12.70|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
|Conservative||Sydney William Leonard Ripley||21,862||46.81|
|Liberal||Hamilton Brinsley Bush||2,469||5.29|
|Liberal||Hamilton Brinsley Bush||3,879||8.44|
|Labour gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Common Wealth||Raymond Blackburn||11,838||46.1||n/a|
|Labour||Stanley Walter Morgan||14,906||34.58|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||5,205||18.7||-7.5|
|Liberal||Robert Allen Bateman||6,423||26.2||+10.3|
|Liberal||Robert Allen Bateman||3,896||15.9|
|Cindicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.|
|Liberal||George Faudel Phillips||3,712||47.9||N/A|
|Conservative win (new seat)|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+10.2|
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;
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