Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bath is a constituency in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is an ancient constituency which has been constantly present in parliament for a number of centuries.

Following their review of the constituencies in the former county of Avon the Boundary Commission for England has recommended that the constituency contract back to the city of Bath, and this will probably be agreed before the next general election.
The electoral wards which make up the re-created Bath constituency are;

Abbey, Bathwick, Combe Down, Kingsmead, Lambridge, Lansdown, Lyncombe, Newbridge, Odd Down, Oldfield, Southdown, Twerton, Walcot, Westmoreland, Weston and Widcombe. Boundary review
Before the Reform Act of 1832 Bath had received writs to select representatives to parliament. It had been invited before the seventeenth century, but was certainly present on the list of constituencies from the seventeenth century until the Reform Act along with Bridgwater, Ilchester, Milborne Port, Minehead, Taunton and Wells in Somerset. Bath was able to, along with the others, send 2 constituents to parliament. Each constituency chose its own method of choosing the candidates during this time, in Bath the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Councillors chose the candidate in public. This practiced continued until the Ballot Act of 1872 determined that this should be done in private to resist bribery. It was one of the few Somerset constituencies to survive the nineteenth century reforms to this time, along with Taunton. An Act of 1884 extended the selection of the candidate to all men over 21. Bath had been a county borough as established by the Local Government Act of 1888. While Bath constantly remained a constituency, one of the oldest in the country, Taunton lost its status in 1918 and became part of a county constituency.
Though a Conservative seat for much of the 20th century it was not considered safe. In 1966, Labour had come just 800 votes from taking the seat. The SDP, second for most of the 1980s, came just 1500 votes from winning in 1987 under Malcolm Dean. In 1992, Conservative Chris Patten was ousted by Don Foster. In 1995, the constituency was expanded from just the city to include five further village wards and 7000 Wansdyke voters.

The current Member of Parliament is Don Foster of the Liberal Democrats, who was elected in the 1992 general election. He famously succeeded Chris Patten, the then Conservative Party chairman. Patten's party had held the seat for several decades, fending off close calls and challenges by Labour, the SDP and the Liberal Democrats since before the 1960s.

Constituency created (1295)
17571764: Ralph Allen
18011807: John Palmer
18731874: Arthur Egerton, Conservative
Representation reduced to one (1918)
19181923: Charles Talbot Foxcroft, Conservative
19231924: Frank Raffety, Liberal
19241929: Charles Talbot Foxcroft, Conservative
19291931: Charles William Baillie-Hamilton
19311945: Thomas Loel Evelyn Bulkeley Guinness, Conservative
19451964: Sir James Pitman, Conservative
19641979: Sir Edward Brown, Conservative
19791992: Chris Patten, Conservative
1992present: Don Foster, Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament

The 2005 general election saw two more candidates stand than in 2001, both of whom were independent. All parties apart from the Liberal Democrats ran different candidates.

Elections in the 2000s

Bath (UK Parliament constituency) Elections in the 1980s

Elections in the 1960s

List of Parliamentary constituencies in Avon

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