Richmond (Yorks) (UK Parliament constituency)

Richmond (Yorks) 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 has the largest Conservative majority in the United Kingdom in both numerical and percentage terms.

History

Richmond was one of the seats in the Unreformed House of Commons, first being represented in 1585. In modern times it has been an ultra-safe seat for the Conservative Party, with them having held it continually since at least 1929.

From 1983, the seat was represented by the Conservative cabinet minister Leon Brittan, after boundary changes saw his Cleveland and Whitby seat abolished. He resigned his seat in December 1988 in order to take up the position of Vice-President of the European Commission. The ensuing by-election, held in February 1989, was won by William Hague, this would be the last by-election won by the Conservative Government of 1979-1997. The decision by the remnants of the Social Democratic Party and their former colleagues in the newly-merged Social and Liberal Democrats (who later renamed themselves the Liberal Democrats) to both contest the seat split their vote. The SDP candidate, local farmer Mike Potter, came second, and Hague's majority of 2,634 was considerably smaller than the number of votes for the Social and Liberal Democrat candidate Barbara Peace combined (11,589 votes in third place). Hague has retained the seat at every general election since then and significantly built up the Conservative majority to 23,336.

In 1992 the Labour candidate, David Abrahams was deselected after a series of rows within the local Labour party over his personal life and business interests. It emerged that he used the name David Martin when dealing with tenants in his various rental properties in the Newcastle area;[1] and that he had claimed that he lived with his wife and son, though he had never been married. Divorcee Anthea Bailey later told a local newspaper she and her 11-year old son had posed as Mr Abrahams' family as part of a business arrangement so that Abrahams could create "the right impression".[2][3] The Daily Mail suggested that this was done because the constituency in North Yorkshire would be averse to "a confirmed bachelor who enjoys musical theatre".[4]

At the 2001 general election, Richmond became the Conservatives' safest seat in the UK, both in terms of the actual numerical majority and by percentage. Although the numerical majority was surpassed by Buckingham at the 2005 election, Richmond has a smaller electorate and consequently was able to retain its position of having the second largest percentage majority. With the abolition of Kensington and Chelsea, based on notional 2005 results Richmond is the safest Conservative seat in the country, both in terms of numerical and percentage majority.

Boundaries

The Richmond constituency covers the Richmondshire district and the northern part of the Hambleton district. It is an affluent rural area with a significant commuter population, covering parts of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, including Wensleydale and Swaledale. It contains the market towns of Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley and Great Ayton as well as surrounding villages. It also includes the large army base, Catterick Garrison.

Boundary review

Following their review of parliamentary representation in York and North Yorkshire, the Boundary Commission for England recommended minor changes to the Richmond constituency, which come into effect at the 2010 general election.

The revised constituency comprises the following: