Open main menu

Wantage (UK Parliament constituency)

Wantage (/wɒntɪ/ is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom since 2005 by Ed Vaizey, elected as a Conservative. On 3 September 2019, Vaizey had the Conservative whip removed for voting against the government to help stop a No Deal Brexit. As a result, he sat as an Independent until he had the whip reinstated on 29 October 2019. On 6 November 2019, Vaizey announced that he would not be standing for re-election in the 2019 general election.[1][n 2]

County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Wantage in Oxfordshire
Outline map
Location of Oxfordshire within England
Electorate82,931 (May 2015)
Major settlementsWantage, Didcot, Wallingford, Faringdon
Current constituency
Member of Parliamentvacant
Number of membersOne
Created fromAbingdon (majority of) (note: abolished)
European Parliament constituencySouth East England


The constituency was created for the 1983 general election further to the Third Periodic Review of Westminster Constituencies. This followed on from the reorganisation of local government under the Local Government Act 1972 which came in to force in April 1974. This saw the bulk of the area represented by the constituency of Abingdon in Berkshire being transferred to Oxfordshire. Under the Review, the majority of the Abingdon constituency formed the new constituency of Wantage, with the town of Abingdon-on-Thames and areas to the west of Oxford being included in the new constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon.

The first MP for Wantage was Robert Jackson, who served as a junior minister under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Jackson defected to the Labour Party in 2005 shortly before standing down as an MP for the 2005 general election. At that election, Ed Vaizey was elected as MP for Wantage and 2010-2016 held the post of Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.

Political history

The seat including its forerunner has been won by Conservative Party candidates since 1924. The 2015 result made the seat the 76th-safest of the Conservative Party's 331 seats by percentage of majority.[2]

Other parties

All five parties' candidates achieved more than the deposit-retaining threshold of 5% of the vote in 2015. Social Democrat candidate Winifred Tumin won the largest third-party share of the vote to date, in the 1983 election — 32.3% of the vote.

Constituency profileEdit

There are three market towns in the constituency: Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage. All have tourist attractions, Wantage having monuments to being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great, Wallingford, ancient enclosure walls of a castle and a medieval bridge.[n 3] Faringdon bears a scar of the English Civil War as its church lost its steeple. The largest town in the constituency is Didcot, which grew up around the Great Western Railway when Isambard Kingdom Brunel built a branch line from its main line between London and Bristol to Oxford, siting the junction at the then-sparsely-populated parish and it has a power station and many major national construction and aggregate industries.

The constituency is mostly rural in character, with more than 400 farms in operation. Included are the Uffington White Horse and The Ridgeway, a prehistoric road, runs along its southern border. The River Thames runs along the northern and western border. The area is affluent and Conservative in nature containing many commuters with fast transport links to London, with Didcot the only area with a strong Labour vote locally. The seat includes international race horse breeders and trainers with racing stables across a broad area that reaches into the Lambourn Downs, crossing over the border into the Newbury seat.

Workless claimants, registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.6% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.

Boundaries and boundary changesEdit

1983-2010: The District of Vale of White Horse wards of Appleton, Craven, Drayton, Faringdon and Littleworth, Greendown, Grove, Harwell and Chilton, Hendred, Icknield, Island Villages, Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor, Longworth, Marcham, Segsbury, Shrivenham, Stanford, Steventon, Sutton Courtenay, The Coxwells, and Upton and Blewbury, and the District of South Oxfordshire wards of Brightwell, Cholsey, Didcot North, Didcot Northbourne, Didcot South, Hagbourne, and Wallingford.

The new constituency included Wantage, Wallingford, Faringdon and Didcot which had previously all been part of the abolished constituency of Abingdon.

2010–present: The District of Vale of White Horse wards of Blewbury and Upton, Craven, Drayton, Faringdon and The Coxwells, Greendown, Grove, Hanneys, Harwell, Hendreds, Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor, Longworth, Marcham and Shippon, Shrivenham, Stanford, Sutton Courtenay and Appleford, Wantage Charlton, and Wantage Segsbury, and the District of South Oxfordshire wards of Brightwell, Cholsey and Wallingford South, Didcot All Saints, Didcot Ladygrove, Didcot Northbourne, Didcot Park, Hagbourne, and Wallingford North.

Marginal changes due to the realignment of the boundaries following changes to local authority wards.

Changes proposed by the Boundary CommissionEdit

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 which would reduce the total number of MPs from 650 to 600. Although the proposals were immediately laid before Parliament they were not brought forward by the Government for approval. Accordingly, they will not come into effect for the 2019 election due to take place on 12 December 2019, which will be contested using the constituency boundaries in place since 2010.

The Commission proposed that the two Vale of White Horse District wards of Drayton and Marcham be transferred to Oxford West and Abingdon (to be renamed Abingdon and North Oxford).[3]

Members of ParliamentEdit

Election Member[4] Party
1983 Robert Jackson Conservative
2005[5] Labour
2005 Ed Vaizey Conservative
2019 Independent (3 September 2019 - 29 October 2019)
2019 Conservative


Elections in the 2010sEdit

General election 2019: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative David Johnston [6]
Liberal Democrats Richard Benwell[7]
Labour Jonny Roberts [8]

On November 13th, 2019, it was announced that Paul Ray, Renew's provisional candidate for Wantage, would stand aside in favour of the Unite to Remain official candidate, Richard Benwell to avoid splitting the pro-remain vote.[9][10]

General election 2017: Wantage[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 34,459 54.2 +0.9
Labour Co-op Rachel Eden 17,079 26.9 +10.8
Liberal Democrats Christopher Carrigan 9,234 14.5 +1.5
Green Sue Ap-Roberts 1,546 2.4 -2.7
UKIP David McLeod 1,284 2.0 -10.5
Majority 17,380 27.3 -10.0
Turnout 63,602 72.5   2.2
Conservative hold Swing   4.95
General election 2015: Wantage[12][13][14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 31,092 53.3 +1.3
Labour Stephen Webb 9,343 16.0 +2.1
Liberal Democrats Alex Meredith 7,611 13.1 -14.9
UKIP Lee Upcraft 7,288 12.5 +8.2
Green Kate Prendergast 2,986 5.1 +3.3
Majority 21,749 37.3 +17.2
Turnout 58,320 70.3 +0.3
Conservative hold Swing -0.4
General election 2010: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 29,284 52.0 +8.9
Liberal Democrats Alan Armitage 15,737 27.9 +0.3
Labour Steven Mitchell 7,855 13.9 -10.0
UKIP Jacqueline Jones 2,421 4.3 +2.8
Green Adam Twine 1,044 1.9 -0.7
Majority 13,547 24.1 +8.7
Turnout 56,341 70.0 +1.9
Conservative hold Swing +4.3

Elections in the 2000sEdit

General election 2005: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Ed Vaizey 22,354 43.0 +3.4
Liberal Democrats Andrew Crawford 14,337 27.6 −0.4
Labour Mark McDonald 12,464 24.0 −4.2
Green Adam Twine 1,332 2.6 +0.4
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 798 1.5 -0.4
English Democrat Gerald Lambourne 646 1.2 N/A
Majority 8,017 15.4 +4.0
Turnout 51,931 68.2 +3.7
Conservative hold Swing +1.9
General election 2001: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 19,475 39.6 -0.2
Labour Stephen Beer 13,875 28.2 -0.7
Liberal Democrats Neil Fawcett 13,776 28.0 +1.5
Green David Brooks-Saxl 1,062 2.2 +1.0
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 941 1.9 +1.1
Majority 5,600 11.4 +0.5
Turnout 49,129 64.5 -13.6
Conservative hold Swing +0.3

Elections in the 1990sEdit

General election 1997: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 22,311 39.81 -14.3
Labour Celia Wilson 16,222 28.94 +7.5
Liberal Democrats Jenny Riley 14,862 26.52 +1.5
Referendum Stuart Rising 1,549 2.76 N/A
Green Miriam Kennet 640 1.14 -0.4
UKIP Nikolai Tolstoy 465 0.83 N/A
Majority 6,089 10.86 -18.3
Turnout 78.10 -4.6
Conservative hold Swing -10.9
General election 1992: Wantage[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 30,575 54.1 +0.2
Liberal Democrats RMC Morgan 14,102 25.0 −5.5
Labour VS Woodell 10,955 19.4 +3.8
Green RJ Ely 867 1.5 +1.5
Majority 16,473 29.2 +5.7
Turnout 56,499 82.7 +4.8
Conservative hold Swing +2.8

Elections in the 1980sEdit

General election 1987: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 27,951 54.0 +1.1
Social Democratic Winifred Tumin 15,795 30.49 −1.8
Labour Stephen Ladyman 8,055 15.55 +1.1
Majority 12,156 23.47 +2.9
Turnout 77.9 +1.0
Conservative hold Swing +1.4
General election 1983: Wantage
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robert Jackson 25,992 52.88
Social Democratic Winifred Tumin 15,867 32.28
Labour AJD Popper 7,115 14.47
Wessex Regionalist AP Mockler 183 0.37
Majority 10,125 20.60
Turnout 76.87
Conservative win (new seat)

Neighbouring constituenciesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A county constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1155 and sent two MPs from 1295 until 1832, see Wallingford (UK Parliament constituency)


  1. ^ "General Election 2019: Ed Vaizey to stand down as MP". BBC News. 6 November 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  2. ^ List of Conservative MPs elected in 2015 by % majority UK Retrieved 2017-01-29
  3. ^ Boundary Commission for England, 2018 Review, Associated consultation documents. "Final recommendations report".CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 1)
  5. ^ See List of British politicians who have crossed the floor#2001–2005 Parliament
  6. ^ Wallace, Mark (November 12, 2019). "Mark Wallace".
  7. ^ {{cite web|url= |title=Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidates |publisher=Mark Pack|accessdate= 8 November 2019}}
  8. ^ Labour, Wantage (November 7, 2019). "Wantage Labour".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Unite to Remain agreement". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Wantage Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Parliamentary election - Vale of White Horse District Council". June 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Wantage".
  15. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 2010-12-06.

Coordinates: 51°36′N 1°26′W / 51.60°N 1.43°W / 51.60; -1.43