Bedford (UK Parliament constituency)


Bedford (UK Parliament constituency)

UK constituency infobox
Name = Bedford
Map1 = Bedford
Map2 = Bedfordshire
Type = Borough
Year = 1295, 1997
Entity = Bedfordshire
County = Bedfordshire
EP = East of England
MP = Patrick Hall
Party = Labour

Bedford is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It is a marginal seat between the Labour Party and the Conservatives.

Boundaries

The constituency covers the towns of Bedford and Kempston in Bedfordshire.

Boundary review

Following their review of parliamentary representation in Bedfordshire, the Boundary Commission for England made only minor changes to each of the existing constituencies.

The new Bedford seat will be formed from electoral wards entirely within the borough of Bedford:
*Brickhill, Castle, Cauldwell, De Parys, Goldington, Harpur, Kempston East, Kempston North, Kempston South, Kingsbrook, Newnham, Putnoe, Queens Park.

History

Bedford was first represented in the Model Parliament of 1295. The constituency was originally a parliamentary borough electing two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons, and consisted of the five parishes making up the town of Bedford.

Before the Reform Act of 1832, the right to vote was exercised by all freemen and burgesses of the town (whether or not they lived within the borough boundaries) and by all householders who were not receiving alms. This was a fairly wide franchise for the period, but potentially subject to abuse since the Corporation of the borough had unlimited power to create freemen. The Corporation was usually under the influence of the Dukes of Bedford, but their influence usually fell well short of making Bedford a pocket borough.

In 1768 a majority of the corporation apparently fell out with the then Duke, and decided to free the borough from his influence. They elected a Huntingdonshire squire, Sir Robert Bernard, as Recorder of the borough, and made 500 new freemen, mostly Bernard's Huntingdonshire neighbours or tenants. As there were only 540 householders, this gave him the effective power to choose Bedford's MPs; at the next election the defeated candidates petitioned against the result, attempting to establish that so many non-residents should not be allowed to vote, but the Commons dismissed the petition and confirmed the right of all the freemen, however created, to vote.

Bernard cemented his control with the creation of hundreds of further freemen in the next few years; at around the same period he lent the Corporation £950, and it is not unreasonable to assume this was payment for services rendered. However, in 1789, the young Duke of Bedford managed to regain the Corporation's loyalty, and had 350 of his own retainers made freeman.

Even at other periods, the influence of the Dukes of Bedford seems sometimes to have been more nominal than real. In the 1750s and 1760s, before Bernard's intervention, there was generally an amicable agreement that the Duke should nominate one MP and the Corporation (representing the interests of the town) the other; but it seems that on occasion the Duke had to be flexible to retain the semblance of local deference towards him, and that his "nominee" had in reality been imposed upon him. Nor was the outcome invariably successfully predetermined: at the 1830 election the result was decided by a single vote - the defeated candidate being Lord John Russell, who was not only one of the Whig leaders but The Duke of Bedford's son.

In 1831, the population of the borough was 6,959, and contained 1,491 houses. This was sufficient for Bedford to retain both its MPs under the Great Reform Act, with its boundaries unaltered. The reformed franchise introduced in 1832 gave the borough 1,572 inhabitants qualified to vote. The town was growing, and Bedford retained its borough status until the 1918 election, although from 1885 its representation was reduced to a single member. On the eve of the First World War its population was just under 40,000, of whom 6,500 could vote.

In 1918 the borough was abolished, but town's name was applied to the county constituency into which it was placed. The new constituency (strictly speaking The Bedford division of Bedfordshire) covered the northern end of the county and included Kempston and Eaton Socon together with the surrounding rural area. A boundary change which came into effect at the 1950 election reduced its size somewhat, part of the Bedford Rural District including Eaton Socon being transferred to the Mid Bedfordshire constituency.

In 1983, further boundary changes took Kempston out of the constituency, and its name was changed to Bedfordshire North, although it was recognisably still the same constituency and Bedford itself was still much its largest component. The following boundary review, effective from the 1997 general election, restored the Bedford name.

Members of Parliament

1295-1660

*"Constituency created" (1295)
*1295: John Cullebere, Simon de Holand

1660-1885

Notes

Election results

Election box candidate with party link
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Patrick Hall
votes = 17,557
percentage = 41.7
change = −6.2
Election box candidate with party link
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidate = Richard Fuller
votes = 14,174
percentage = 33.7
change = +0.9
Election box candidate with party link
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidate = Michael Headley
votes = 9,063
percentage = 21.5
change = +5.7
Election box candidate with party link
party = United Kingdom Independence Party
candidate = Peter Conquest
votes = 995
percentage = 2.4
change = +1.3
Election box candidate with party link
party = Independent (politician)
candidate = John McCready
votes = 283
percentage = 0.7
change = "N/A"
Election box majority
votes = 3,383
percentage = 8.0
change =
Election box turnout
votes = 42,072
percentage = 59.6
change = −0.3
Election box hold with party link
winner = Labour Party (UK)
swing = −3.5

Election box candidate with party link
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Patrick Hall
votes = 19,454
percentage = 47.9
change = -2.7
Election box candidate with party link
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidate = Nicky Attenborough
votes = 13,297
percentage = 32.8
change = -0.9
Election box candidate with party link
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidate = Michael Headley
votes = 6,425
percentage = 15.8
change = +3.5
Election box candidate with party link
party = Independent (politician)
candidate = Richard Rawlins
votes = 973
percentage = 2.4
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = United Kingdom Independence Party
candidate = Jennifer Lo Bianco
votes = 430
percentage = 1.1
change = "N/A"
Election box majority
votes = 6,157
percentage = 15.1
change =
Election box turnout
votes = 40,579
percentage = 59.9
change = -13.6
Election box hold with party link
winner = Labour Party (UK)
swing =

Election box candidate with party link
party = Labour Party (UK)
candidate = Patrick Hall
votes = 24,774
percentage = 50.6
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Conservative Party (UK)
candidate = Robert Blackman
votes = 16,474
percentage = 33.7
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Liberal Democrats (UK)
candidate = Christopher Noyce
votes = 6,044
percentage = 12.3
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Referendum Party
candidate = P. Conquest
votes = 1,503
percentage = 3.1
change = "N/A"
Election box candidate with party link
party = Natural Law Party
candidate = P. Saunders
votes = 149
percentage = 0.3
change = "N/A"
Election box majority
votes = 8,300
percentage =
change = "N/A"
Election box turnout
votes =
percentage = 73.5
change = "N/A"
Election box hold with party link
winner = Labour Party (UK)
swing = "N/A"

ee also

*List of Parliamentary constituencies in Bedfordshire

References

*cite book | first=Robert | last=Beatson | title=A chronological register of both houses of the British Parliament, Volume II | year=1807 | url=http://books.google.com/books?vid=LCCN06016349&id=XiDFKwjKZZ4C
* F W S Craig, "British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885" (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
* F W S Craig, "British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949" (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)
* Lewis Namier, "The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III" (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
* T H B Oldfield, "The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland" (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816)
* J Holladay Philbin, "Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
* Edward Porritt and Annie G Porritt, "The Unreformed House of Commons" (Cambridge University Press, 1903)
* Henry Stooks Smith, "The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847" (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig - Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
* Frederic A Youngs, jr, "Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I" (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)
* "The Constitutional Year Book for 1913" (London: National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1913)
*Rayment


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