Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Watford (UK Parliament constituency)

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County  Hertfordshire
Number of members  1
Created from  Hertfordshire
European Parliament constituency  East of England
Member of parliament  Richard Harrington
Replaced by  Hertfordshire
Electorate  80,939 (December 2010)
Watford (UK Parliament constituency)

Watford is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Richard Harrington, a member of the Conservative Party.



Before the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire. Upon this act, it took up the western division of the county, however later seats such as South West Hertfordshire, established in 1950 have reduced its reach, as settlements in those areas, and Watford itself, have grown.

Political history

The seat has been a bellwether of the national result since February 1974. Watford saw considerable Liberal Democrat opposition in 2005, achieving second place, taking many Labour votes with the Conservative candidate close behind.

Before the 2010 general election it was a three-way marginal seat in which local Tories, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats aimed to garner support for their candidate. This election in Watford was won by Richard Harrington (Con) with 34.9% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats narrowly missed out on the seat with 32.4% of the vote and the defeat for Labour's candidate, Claire Ward, was a pronounced change with 26.7% of the vote.

Prominent frontbenchers

Dennis Herbert was Deputy Speaker from 1931-1943.

Major John Freeman was only a third-tier (junior) minister in the War Office as MP. His later unusually prominent positions in diplomacy led to his being appointed a member of the Privy Council and thereby being Rt Hon as of 1966.

Tristan Garel-Jones was Minister for Europe for three years of the Major ministry.

Both Herbert and Garel-Jones opted as peers in later life to use Watford as the territorial designation of their peerages.


1885-1918: Parts of the Sessional Division of Watford and Dacorum.

1918-1950: The Urban Districts of Bushey, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, and Watford, and part of the Rural District of Watford.

1950-1983: The Municipal Borough of Watford.

1983-1997: The Borough of Watford, the District of Three Rivers wards of Abbots Langley and Leavesden, and the City of St Albans wards of Park Street and St Stephens.

1997-present: The Borough of Watford, and the District of Three Rivers wards of Abbots Langley, Carpenders Park, Langleybury, Leavesden, and Oxhey Hall.

The constituency comprises the whole of the Borough of Watford, together with five wards from Three Rivers District. Two of the Three Rivers wards, Carpenders Park and Oxhey Hall, are to the south of Watford town and include mostly prosperous, elevated, commuter villages. The remaining three, Abbots Langley, Langleybury and Leavesden, are to the north of Watford, the first of which is a large village, and due to its relative remoteness from the City of London is mixed in character and levels of income.

Constituency profile

Watford has a considerable service sector economy, with several notable headquarters, and engineering, trade-craft and distribution in its economy, however is also a commuter town to the City of London. British Waterways, J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, Iveco, manufacturers of commercial vehicles; part of Balfour Beatty; Bathstore, the largest bathroom retailer in the UK; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare are the largest of these. The borough is also the UK base of many multinationals including C.H. Robinson, Total Oil, TK Maxx, Costco, Vinci and Beko appliances. International golf tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championship have taken place at the Grove hotel.

Workless claimants who were registered jobseekers were in November 2012 lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 3.0% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.

Elections in the 2010s

Background to Conservative candidates

In July 2007 former candidate Ali Miraj, a candidate for Aberavon in 2001, was dropped from the candidates list by the Conservative party after he complained about David Cameron's leadership style and allegedly demanded a peerage. The public selected his former campaign manager Ian Oakley, who had been a candidate for Newport East in 2001 in the first Open Primary to be organised by the Conservative Party in November 2006. In July 2008, Oakley, withdrew candidature after being arrested for conducting a campaign of harassment against the local Liberal Democrats, for which he was convicted and given an 18-week suspended prison sentence and 12 month supervision order on 13 October 2008.

In December 2008 Watford Conservative Association selected a new candidate, Richard Harrington.

Elections in the 1910s

  • endorsed by Coalition Government
  • Elections in the 1910s

    General Election 1914/15:

    Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;

  • Unionist: Arnold Sandwith Ward
  • Liberal: Hedley Francis Le Bas
  • References

    Watford (UK Parliament constituency) Wikipedia