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West Suffolk (UK Parliament constituency)

West Suffolk is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Matt Hancock, a Conservative.[n 2] Between 1832 and 1885 there had also been a constituency, the Western Division of Suffolk that had also been called West Suffolk.

West Suffolk
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of West Suffolk in Suffolk
Outline map
Location of Suffolk within England
Electorate76,158 (December 2010)[1]
Major settlementsNewmarket, Haverhill and Mildenhall
Current constituency
Member of ParliamentMatt Hancock (Conservative)
Number of membersOne
Created fromCentral Suffolk
Number of membersTwo
Type of constituencyCounty constituency
Replaced byBury St Edmunds
(also succeeded itself)
North-Western or 'Stowmarket' Division
South or 'Sudbury' Division
Created fromSuffolk
European Parliament constituencyEast of England


Between the 1832 Reform Act and 1885 there had been a constituency, the Western Division of Suffolk, also known as West Suffolk, although on different boundaries. Its second creation occurred with Parliamentary approval of the Boundary Commission's fourth periodic review of Westminster constituencies in time for the 1997 general election.

Political history

The seat at this time has only been represented by Conservatives with the narrowest majority having been that of 1997 at only 3.8% of the vote, since which the majority has gradually increased to a level seen most commonly in safe seats.

For the 2010 general election, the transition was planned six months before, on 23 November 2009, when the incumbent announced he would not stand again.[2]

Prominent frontbenchers

Richard Spring[n 3] was an opposition spokesman for Foreign Affairs (2000-2004) (shadowing a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister) then Shadow Minister for the Treasury (2004-2005) before being a Vice-Chairman of his party and being elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Risby. Several of his ancestors had previously represented Suffolk in the House of Commons.

Constituency profileEdit

This area includes a slightly older demographic profile than the national average, with a significant proportion of semi-detached and detached homes and a higher than average proportion of retired people.[3]

Major economic sectors include defence (RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath), agriculture/food (including for major products as well as regional specialities such as ales, Suffolk cider and cured meats), tourism and leisure (such as Newmarket racecourse) and particularly in Haverhill, a range of industries. These include chemicals (such as International Flavors and Fragrances), waste processing, transport, construction and pharmaceuticals.

Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 2.5% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.[4]

Boundaries and boundary changesEdit

1997-2010: The District of Forest Heath, and the Borough of St Edmundsbury wards of Barningham, Barrow, Cangle, Castle, Chalkstone, Chevington, Clements, Honington, Horringer, Hundon, Ixworth, Kedington, Risby, St Mary’s and Helions, Stanton, Wickhambrook, and Withersfield.[5]

The new county constituency was formed primarily from the majority (including Newmarket) of the constituency of Bury St Edmunds, which was reconfigured. It also incorporated western-most areas of South Suffolk, including Haverhill.

2010–present: The District of Forest Heath, and the Borough of St Edmundsbury wards of Bardwell, Barningham, Barrow, Chedburgh, Haverhill East, Haverhill North, Haverhill South, Haverhill West, Hundon, Ixworth, Kedington, Risby, Stanton, Wickhambrook, and Withersfield.[6]

Marginal changes due to revision of local authority wards.

The constituency includes the town of Newmarket, the world headquarters of horse racing, as well as the towns of Haverhill and Mildenhall, with a farmed landscape, interspersed with patches of forest[n 4] and small villages.

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 constituency be unchanged.[7]

Members of ParliamentEdit


Elections in the 2010sEdit

General election 2019: West Suffolk[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Green Donald Allwright
Conservative Matt Hancock
Liberal Democrats Elfreda Tealby-Watson
Labour Claire Unwin
General election 2017: West Suffolk [10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Matt Hancock 31,649 61.2 +9.0
Labour Michael Jefferys 14,586 28.2 +10.7
UKIP Julian Flood 2,396 4.6 -17.1
Liberal Democrats Elfreda Tealby-Watson 2,180 4.2 -0.8
Green Donald Allwright 935 1.8 -1.8
Majority 17,063 33.0 +2.6
Turnout 51,852 67.2 +2.3
Conservative hold Swing   0.85
General election 2015: West Suffolk[11][12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Matt Hancock 25,684 52.2 +1.6
UKIP Julian Flood[13] 10,700 21.7 +15.3
Labour Michael Jefferys 8,604 17.5 +2.7
Liberal Democrats Elfreda Tealby-Watson[14] 2,465 5.0 −18.4
Green Niall Pettitt[15] 1,779 3.6 N/A
Majority 14,984 30.4 +3.3
Turnout 49,429 64.9 +0.3
Conservative hold Swing −6.9
General election 2010: West Suffolk[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Matt Hancock 24,312 50.6 +1.7
Liberal Democrats Belinda Brooks-Gordon 11,262 23.4 +6.2
Labour Ohid Ahmed 7,089 14.7 −14.2
UKIP Ian Smith 3,085 6.4 +1.5
BNP Ramon Johns 1,428 3.0 N/A
Independent Andrew Appleby 540 1.1 N/A
Christian Peoples Colin Young 373 0.8 N/A
Majority 13,050 27.1 +6.9
Turnout 48,089 64.6 +3.8
Conservative hold Swing −2.3

Elections in the 2000sEdit

General election 2005: West Suffolk[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Spring 21,682 49.0 +1.4
Labour Michael Jeffreys 12,773 28.9 −8.6
Liberal Democrats Adrian Graves 7,573 17.1 +5.3
UKIP Ian Smith 2,177 4.9 +1.8
Majority 8,909 20.2 +10.1
Turnout 44,205 60.7 +0.2
Conservative hold Swing +5.0
General election 2001: West Suffolk[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Spring 20,201 47.6 +6.7
Labour Michael Jefferys 15,906 37.5 +0.4
Liberal Democrats Robin Martlew 5,017 11.8 −2.2
UKIP Will Burrows 1,321 3.1 N/A
Majority 4,295 10.1 +6.3
Turnout 42,445 60.5 −11.0
Conservative hold Swing +3.1

Elections in the 1990sEdit

General election 1997: West Suffolk[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Spring 20,081 40.9 N/A
Labour Michael Jefferys 18,214 37.1 N/A
Liberal Democrats Adrian Graves 6,892 14.0 N/A
Referendum James J.T. Carver 3,724 7.6 N/A
Natural Law Alistair J.M. Shearer 171 0.3 N/A
Majority 1,867 3.8 N/A
Turnout 49,082 71.5 N/A
Conservative win (new seat)

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  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. ^ Previously MP for the Bury St Edmunds seat
  4. ^ For example Thetford Forest, synonymous with Breckland.
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  2. ^ So Long and Farewell, Richard Spring Blog
  3. ^ "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics".
  4. ^ Unemployment claimants by constituency The Guardian
  5. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1995". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  6. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  7. ^ Boundary Commission for England, 2018 Review, Associated consultation documents (September 2018). "Final recommendations report".CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 6)
  9. ^ "Suffolk West Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Suffolk West parliamentary constituency - Election 2017" – via
  11. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Suffolk West parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Green Party announces a full slate of seven parliamentary candidates for Suffolk".
  16. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.