Parliamentary constituencies in Hertfordshire

Parliamentary constituencies in Hertfordshire
A small county slightly to the south and east of the centre of the country, and completely bounded by other counties.
The county of Hertfordshire in relation to England

The county of Hertfordshire in England is divided into eleven Parliamentary constituencies. Each of the eleven elects a Member of Parliament (MP) to represent it at the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament in Westminster. As the 2010 general election, all of Hertfordshire's eleven MPs are Conservatives. The county currently has two urban borough constituencies (BC) – Broxbourne and Watford – while the other nine are classed as more rural county constituencies (CC).

Hertfordshire has been represented in Parliament since 1290. The number of MPs and the geographic areas they have represented have changed considerably, with some of the bigger changes occurring in 1832, 1885, 1974, 1983 and 1997. Since the last constituency elections in 2005, some boundaries have been altered slightly. The present ones are based upon recommendations made by the Boundary Commission for England, and came into legal effect with the passing of the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007.


Parliamentary history of Hertfordshire

The head and shoulders of a middle-aged man, wearing a brown jacket, white shirt and black bow-tie.
Arthur Balfour was MP for Hertford between 1874 and 1885, and later Prime Minister.

Hertfordshire was first represented in the English parliament in the thirteenth century, during the reign of King Edward I.[1][2] Edward held a meeting of Parliament in the county in 1295.[3] By 1307, the county's representation in parliament consisted of two representatives, known as Knights of the Shire, who represented the county as a whole. In addition, the city of St Albans and borough of Hertford elected two representatives of their own.[1] Parliament's role evolved over the next five centuries, from a body existing primarily to advise the monarch on taxation, into a legislative body in its own right following the English Civil War. However, Hertfordshire's constituency makeup within it remained unchanged until 1852, when the constituency of St Albans was abolished. The next change came in the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. The constituency of Hertfordshire itself was abolished, with the county represented by the constituencies of Hertford, the re-established St Albans, and the newly-formed Watford and Hitchin.[4]

Following the Redistribution of Seats Act in 1885, Hertfordshire's Parliamentary boundaries remained the same until 1950. However, the demographics of voters in the county changed significantly, with four new towns being designated in the county in the three years from 1946–48.[5][6][7] Meanwhile the eligibility to vote was extended from men who held property of a high enough value, to universal suffrage for all adults over the age of 21, as a result of the Representation of the People Acts in 1918 and 1928.[8] In 1950 South West Hertfordshire was formed from part of the old Watford constituency, and for the following general election in 1955 East Hertfordshire was created from parts of Hitchin and Hertford. The next national boundary change affecting Hertfordshire came into effect for the February 1974 election. Four new constituencies were introduced, however three of these were replaced at the next national boundary change in 1983, as were Hitchin and East Hertfordshire. The 1983 boundary review saw the formation of Broxbourne, Hertford and Stortford, Hertsmere, Hitchin and Harpenden, Stevenage and North Hertfordshire, although the latter was replaced by North East Hertfordshire in 1997. The Boundary Commission for England decided not to change Hertfordshire's representation in Parliament for the 2010 election, although small boundary changes were made affecting eight of the county's eleven existing constituencies.[9]


      Former constituency
      * Constituency for the United Kingdom general election, 2010
Constituency Years
1290–1298 1298–1307 1307–1852 1852–1885 1885–1918 1918–1950 1950–1955 1955–1974 1974–1983 1983–1997 1997–*
Hertfordshire[1] 1290–1885  
Hertford[1][10]   1298–1974  
St Albans[nb 1][1][10]   1307–1852   1885–*
Watford[10]   1885–*
Hitchin[10]   1885–1983  
Hemel Hempstead[11]   1918–1983   1997–*
South West Hertfordshire[12][13]   1950–*
East Hertfordshire[14]   1955–1983  
Hertford and Stevenage   1974–1983  
South Hertfordshire   1974–1983  
Welwyn Hatfield   1974–*
North Hertfordshire   1983–1997  
West Hertfordshire   1983–1997  
Broxbourne   1983–*
Hertford and Stortford   1983–*
Hertsmere   1983–*
Hitchin and Harpenden   1983–*
Stevenage   1983–*
North East Hertfordshire   1997–*

Constituencies represented by multiple MPs

The head and shoulders of a middle-aged man, wearing a brown jacket and a black top.
William Lamb, MP for Hertfordshire 1819–1826 and Prime Minister of the UK 1835–1841

Following the 1832 Reform Act and the 1885 Representation of the People Act, it has become common for constituencies to be represented by a single MP. Prior to these acts Parliament consisted of fewer constituencies, with some represented by multiple MPs. Those which were represented by multiple Members of Parliament are listed below, with the increase or reduction in representation being implemented at general elections held in those years.[1]

Name Year of formation Year abolished Number of MPs
Hertford 1298[nb 2] 1868 2
Hertfordshire 1290 1832 2
1832 1885 3
St Albans[nb 1] 1307[nb 3] 1852 2

2010 constituencies

Hertfordshire's Parliamentary boundaries were amended by the Boundary Commission for England's fourth report for the 1997 general election, and these boundaries were retained for the 2001 and 2005 elections. Each constituency is made up of a series of whole or partial local government wards, which elect individual councillors at English local elections. Nine constituencies are designated as county constituencies, while two are considered borough constituencies. County constituencies are generally larger and more rural, and therefore county constituency Parliamentary candidates are allowed to spend more per head than their borough counterparts.[15]

At the 2010 general election, the Conservative Party gained two seats from the Labour. By holding their existing nine seats, they therefore returned an MP in every Hertfordshire constituency. The seat with the smallest majority was Watford, where Richard Harrington defeated Sal Brinton of the Liberal Democrats by 1,425 votes. The safest seat was Hertsmere, where James Clappison received 17,605 votes more than his nearest rival.

      † Conservative       ‡ Labour       ¤ Liberal Democrat

Name[nb 4] Turnout Majority[nb 5] Member of Parliament Nearest opposition Electoral wards[16][17] Map
Broxbourne BC 45,658 (64.0%)[18] 18,804[18]   Charles Walker[18]   Michael Watson‡ Broxbourne Borough Council: Broxbourne, Bury Green, Cheshunt Central, Cheshunt North, Flamstead End, Goffs Oak, Hoddesdon North, Hoddesdon Town, Rosedale, Rye Park, Theobalds, Waltham Cross, Wormley & Turnford.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council: Northaw.
A fairly small constituency in the southeast part of the county.
Hemel Hempstead CC 49,471 (68.0%) 13,406 Michael Penning† Richard Grayson¤ Dacorum Borough Council: Adleyfield East, Adleyfield West, Apsley, Ashridge, Bennetts End, Boxmoor, Chauldren and Shrubhill, Corner Hall, Gadebridge, Grove Hill, Hemel Hempstead Central, Highfield and St Pauls, Kings Langley, Leverstock Green, Nash Mills, Warners End, Watling, Woodhall.
A medium-sized constituency. It is slightly to the northwest of the centre of the county.
Hertford and Stortford CC 55,377 (70.6%) 15,437 Mark Prisk Richard Henry¤ East Hertfordshire District Council: Bishop’s Stortford All Saints, Bishop’s Stortford Central, Bishop’s Stortford Meads, Bishop’s Stortford Silverleys, Bishop’s Stortford South, Great Amwell, Hertford Bengeo, Hertford Castle, Hertford Heath, Hertford Kingsmead, Hertford Rural South, Hertford Sele, Hunsdon, Much Hadham, Sawbridgeworth, Stanstead Abbots, Ware Chadwell, Ware Christchurch, Ware St Mary’s, Ware Trinity.
A medium-sized constituency located in the east of the county.
Hertsmere CC 47,270 (64.7%) 17,605 James Clappison Sam Russell‡ Hertsmere Borough Council: Aldenham East, Aldenham West, Borehamwood Brookmeadow, Borehamwood Cowley Hill, Borehamwood Hillside, Borehamwood Kenilworth, Bushey Heath, Bushey North, Bushey Park, Bushey St James, Elstree, Potters Bar Furzefield, Potters Bar, Oakmere, Potters Bar Parkfield, Shenley.
A small-to-medium sized constituency, located in the south of the county.
Hitchin and Harpenden CC 54,707 (74.1%) 15,271 Peter Lilley Nigel Quinton¤ North Hertfordshire District Council: Cadwell Graveley & Wymondley, Hitchin Bearton, Hitchin Highbury, Hitchin Oughton, Hitchin Priory, Hitchin Walsworth, Hitchwood, Hoo, Kimpton, Offa.
St Albans City Council: Harpenden East, Harpenden North, Harpenden South, Harpenden West, Redbourn, Sandridge, Wheathampstead.
A fairly large constituency, stretching from the centre of the county northwards.
North East Hertfordshire CC 50,425 (69.8%) 15,194 Oliver Heald Andy Harrop¤ East Hertfordshire District Council: Braughing, Buntingford, Hertford Rural North, Little Hadham, Mundens and Cottered, Puckeridge, Thundridge & Standon, Walkern, Watton-at-Stone.
North Hertfordshire District Council: Arbury, Baldock East, Baldock Town, Ermine, Letchworth East, Letchworth Grange, Letchworth South East, Letchworth South West, Letchworth Wilbury, Royston Heath, Royston Meridian, Royston Palace, Weston and Sandon.
The largest constituency in the county, primarily located in the northeast of the county. Its northernmost parts are considerably further north than constituencies in the west.
South West Hertfordshire CC 56,750 (72.5%) 14,920 David Gauke Christopher Townsend¤ Dacorum Borough Council: Aldbury and Wigginton, Berkhamsted Castle, Berkhamsted East, Berkhamsted West, Bovingdon Flaunden & Chipperfield, Northchurch, Tring Central, Tring East, Tring West.
Three Rivers District Council: Ashridge, Chorleywood East, Chorleywood West, Croxley Green, Croxley Green North, Croxley Green South, Hayling, Maple Cross & Mill End, Moor Park & Eastbury, Northwick, Penn, Rickmansworth, Rickmansworth West, Sarratt.
A medium sized constituency. It is long and thin in shape, stretching from the northwest to the southwest of the county.
St Albans CC 52,835 (75.4%) 2,305 Anne Main Sandy Walkington¤ St Albans City Council: Ashley, Batchwood, Clarence, Colney Heath, Cunningham, London Colney, Marshalswick North, Marshalswick South, Park Street, St Peters, St Stephen, Sopwell, Verulam.
Three Rivers District Council: Bedmond & Primrose Hill.
A small-to-medium sized constituency, slightly west of the centre of the county. It is bordered entirely by other constituencies in the county.
Stevenage CC 44,651 (64.8%) 3,578 Stephen McPartland† Sharon Taylor‡ East Hertfordshire District Council: Datchworth & Aston.
North Hertfordshire District Council: Codicote, Knebworth.
Stevenage Borough Council: Bandley Hill, Bedwell, Chells, Longmeadow, Manor, Martins Wood, Old Town, Pin Green, Roebuck, St Nicholas, Shephall, Symonds Green, Woodfield.
A small constituency located slightly north of the centre of the county. It is bordered exclusively by other constituencies in the county.
Watford BC 55,208 (68.3%) 1,425 Richard Harrington† Sal Brinton¤ Three Rivers District Council: Abbots Langley, Carpenders Park, Langleybury, Leavesden, Oxhey Hall.
Watford Borough Council: Callowland, Central, Holywell, Leggatts, Meriden, Nascot, Oxhey, Park, Stanborough, Tudor, Vicarage, Woodside.
A small constituency, southwest of the centre of the county.
Welwyn Hatfield CC 48,972 (68.0%) 17,423 Grant Shapps Mike Hobday‡ Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council: Brookmans Park and Little Heath, Haldens, Handside, Hatfield Central, Hatfield East, Hatfield North, Hatfield South, Hatfield West, Hollybush, Howlands, Panshanger, Peartree, Sherrards, Welham Green, Welwyn North, Welwyn South.
A medium sized constituency at the centre of the county. It is entirely bounded by other constituencies in the county.


2005 2010
HertfordshireParliamentaryConstituency2005Results.svg HertfordshireParliamentaryConstituency2010Results.svg

Changes for the 2010 general election

In its fifth periodical report, the Boundary Commission for England recommended that the Hertfordshire constituencies used for the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections should be retained for the 2010 election. It did however suggest slight boundary changes to some constituencies, in an effort to reduce electoral disparity between constituencies. The recommendations, which became law with the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007, also ensured that local government wards in Hertfordshire would no longer be split between two Parliamentary constituencies.[9][19]

Dash (—) signifies that there were no changes.

No. on map Constituency Wards added from 2005 Wards removed from 2005 Pre-2010 Boundaries Post-2010 Boundaries
1 Broxbourne
A map of a county, divided into eleven constituencies
The same map of a county. It is divided into eleven constituencies, some of which have slightly different boundaries.
2 Hemel Hempstead Bovingdon Flaunden & Chipperfield
3 Hertford and Stortford Hertford Rural South
4 Hertsmere
5 Hitchin and Harpenden Cadwell Graveley & Wymondley, Sandridge Letchworth Wilbury, Marshalswick North
6 North East Hertfordshire Hertford Rural South, Walkern, Letchworth Wilbury Cadwell Graveley & Wymondley
7 South West Hertfordshire Bovingdon Flaunden & Chipperfield
8 St Albans Marshalswick North, Bedmond & Primrose Hill Sandridge
9 Stevenage Walkern
10 Watford Bedmond & Primrose Hill
11 Welwyn Hatfield

See also


  1. ^ a b St Albans was abolished in 1852, but re-established in 1885.
  2. ^ Hertford began to send representatives to parliament in 1298, and became a permanent constituency in 1624.
  3. ^ St Albans started sending members of parliament in 1307, and became a permanent constituency in 1554.
  4. ^ BC denotes borough constituency, CC denotes county constituency.
  5. ^ The majority is the number of votes the winning candidate receives more than their nearest rival.


  1. ^ a b c d e f David Boothroyd. "Parliamentary Constituencies in the unreformed House". David Boothroyd. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Edward I 'Longshanks' (r. 1272–1307)". The Royal Household. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Robinson p31.
  4. ^ "A parliamentary map of the British Isles showing the electoral divisions as described in the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885". David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 37785. p. 5536. 12 November 1946. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  6. ^ London Gazette: no. 37875. p. 664. 7 February 1947. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  7. ^ London Gazette: no. 38299. p. 3136. 25 May 1948. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  8. ^ "Women and the Vote". Parliamentary copyright. 13 November 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b Boundary Commission for England pp. 346–350.
  10. ^ a b c d "Historic maps". David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Full text of "The Representation of the people act, 1918 : with explanatory notes"". Internet Archive. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "UK General Election results July 1945". Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "UK General Election results February 1950". Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "UK General Election results May 1955". Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "Variation of election expenses limits for candidates at UK Parliamentary and local government elections". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  16. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007, page 4". Office of Public Sector Information. Crown copyright. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Boundary Commission for England pp. 1004–1007
  18. ^ a b c "Constituency:Broxbourne". BBC News. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007". Office of Public Sector Information. Crown copyright. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 

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