for the House of Commons
|County||1861–1918 Cheshire 1950–1974 Cheshire 1974– Merseyside|
|Population||88,818 (2011 census)|
|Electorate||62,432 (December 2010)|
|Member of Parliament||Mick Whitley (Labour)|
|Number of members||One|
|Created from||Birkenhead East, Birkenhead West|
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
|Replaced by||Birkenhead East, Birkenhead West|
|Created from||South Cheshire|
The constituency of Birkenhead covers the town of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, and the Birkenhead suburbs of Bidston, Claughton, Oxton, Prenton, Rock Ferry and Tranmere. It forms the relatively densely populated mid-east of four parliamentary constituencies within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, itself a major contributor to (and the ex-Cheshire part of) the Metropolitan County of Merseyside envisaged in 1958 and created in 1974, considered as any other county (albeit with very limited powers and no elected councillors) for the enacted purposes of the Boundary Commission in its periodic reports.
The urban parts of the town unite with Liverpool on the opposite side of the narrows of the estuary in having an early socially reformist movement in local measures, and its choice of many elected representatives since the 1850s. The work was evidenced in the building of large public buildings and institutions and the creation of supported workers' housing, creating Port Sunlight to the south, among other such estates. The southern border of the borough controversially avoids the near-circular suburbs of the cathedral city of Chester, thereby creating a jagged boundary in local and national government; nonetheless, the Wirral has scenic shores and large golf courses including to the west one which regularly hosts The Open. Transcending the dense 20th-century urban-semi-rural divide of Merseyside is the largely Victorian era-built town of Birkenhead, at the centre of which lies the archetype of city parks, Birkenhead Park, a social gift and early publicly subscribed community asset in the area.
The seat is almost square and bounded by its sole motorway to the west. Its homes were (at the 2011 UK Census) 53% owner-occupied compared to 60% in the region. The seat's entirely left-wing victories nationally since 1945 evidence commitment locally to public services and wealth redistribution, rather than laissez-faire economics and low taxation. The 2015 general election result made the seat the fifteenth-safest of Labour's 232 seats by percentage of majority.
Birkenhead was enfranchised in 1861 by the Appropriation of Seats (Sudbury and Saint Alban's) Act 1861 as a single-member Parliamentary Borough. It was first contested at the 1865 general election and continued as a single-seat constituency until it was split between Birkenhead East and Birkenhead West under the terms of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which took effect for the 1918 general election.
1861–1918: The enfranchising Act provided that the constituency was to consist of the Extra-parochial Chapelry of Birkenhead, the several townships of Claughton, Tranmere, and Oxton, and so much of the township of Higher Bebington as lies to the eastward of the road leading from Higher Tranmere to Lower Bebington.
The boundaries were not altered by the Boundaries Act 1868 or the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.
1950–1974: The County Borough of Birkenhead, except the wards included in the Bebington constituency (i.e. the wards of Bebington, Devonshire, Egerton, Mersey, and Prenton).
1974–1983: The County Borough of Birkenhead wards of Argyle, Bebington, Cathcart, Claughton, Cleveland, Clifton, Devonshire, Egerton, Gilbrook, Grange, Holt, Mersey, Oxton, and St James.
Gained the Bebington, Devonshire, Egerton and Mersey wards from the abolished constituency of Bebington. Upton ward transferred to Wirral.
From 1 April 1974 until the next boundary review came into effect for the 1983 general election, the constituency comprised parts of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in Merseyside but its boundaries were unchanged.
Boundaries broadly unchanged.
1918–1950 (seats split)
The two seats alternated frequently between the three largest parties in the 1920s, before the 1931 and 1935 general elections, which saw a major Conservative and Unionist Party victory (standing as Unionist in this area) in Birkenhead West, the latter election heralding a ten-year Parliament. However, the Liberal Graham White, of the more radical faction, won the eastern seat at both elections, echoing his victory in 1922. Having had predominantly marginal majorities, the seats were firmly won by the Labour Party in their nationwide landslide victory of 1945.
Since 1950 re-creation
Since 1950, Birkenhead has returned Labour MPs with large and generally increasing majorities — apart from a 7% majority in 1955.
Frank Field, who represented the constituency from 1979 to 2019, was appointed as Welfare Reform Minister in the First Blair ministry in 1997 but served for just for one year. He chaired the Work and Pensions Select Committee from 2015 to 2019. In the 2017 general election he received 77% of the vote, achieving a majority of 58%. However, he resigned from the Labour whip in August 2018, citing anti-semitism in the party. In the 2019 general election he stood as a candidate of the Birkenhead Social Justice Party but he lost easily to the Labour Party candidate, gaining only 17% of the vote.
Minor party candidates
Two Communist candidates, including Barry Williams, stood between 1950-1970, obtaining a high point of 1.5% of the votes cast.
More recently, at the 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections no candidates apart from those selected by the Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties contested the seat. The 2015 general election result saw the Liberal Democrat candidate fall behind the Green candidate, with both parties narrowly losing their deposits, as they did in 2017 and 2019. The Brexit Party stood at the 2019 general election, also losing its deposit.
Members of Parliament
|1885||Edward Bruce Hamley||Conservative|
|1892||Arnold Keppel, Viscount Bury||Conservative|
|1918||constituency abolished: see Birkenhead East and Birkenhead West|
MPs since 1950
Elections in the 2010s
|Birkenhead Social Justice||Frank Field||7,285||17.2||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Kelly||1,620||3.8||1.2|
|Brexit Party||Darren Lythgoe||1,489||3.5||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Allan Brame||1,118||2.6||1.0|
|Liberal Democrats||Allan Brame||1,396||3.6||15.0|
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Kelly||6,554||18.6||0.1|
Elections in the 2000s
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Kelly||5,125||18.4||+5.6|
|Liberal Democrats||Roy Wood||3,722||12.8||+3.8|
Elections in the 1990s
|Liberal Democrats||Roy Wood||3,548||9.0||−0.7|
|Socialist Labour||Mark Cullen||1,168||3.0||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Pat M. Williams||4,417||9.7||−5.2|
|Green||Tina R. Fox||543||1.2||New|
|Natural Law||Bridget Griffiths||190||0.4||New|
Elections in the 1980s
|Liberal||Gordon C. Lindsay||9,782||20.8||+7.1|
Elections in the 1970s
|Workers Revolutionary||M. Fletcher||306||0.7||New|
Elections in the 1960s
|Conservative||Robert Kenelm Morland||18,133||43.0||+1.8|
Elections in the 1950s
|Conservative||Kenneth Graham Routledge||19,361||41.2||−5.3|
|Liberal||G Frederick Bilson||4,658||9.9||new|
|Conservative||Harry S. Oddie||21,345||46.5||+1.5|
|Liberal||Denis Robertson Green||5,234||9.9|
|Labour win (new seat)|
Elections in the 1910s
|Conservative gain from Lib-Lab||Swing||+3.8|
Elections in the 1900s
|Independent Protestant||John Alfred Kensit||2,118||14.6||New|
|Lib-Lab gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
Elections in the 1890s
Elections in the 1880s
|Conservative||Edward Bruce Hamley||5,255||56.3||+0.6|
|Liberal||William Rann Kennedy||4,086||43.7||−0.6|
|Conservative||Edward Bruce Hamley||5,733||55.7||+3.3|
|Liberal||William Rann Kennedy||4,560||44.3||−3.3|
|Liberal||Arthur John Williams||3,658||47.6||+17.6|
Elections in the 1870s
- Caused by Laird's death.
Elections in the 1860s
|Conservative win (new seat)|
While the seat was created in 1861, it is considered a new seat for the purposes of the 1865 general election.
|Conservative win (new seat)|
- List of Parliamentary constituencies on Merseyside
- History of Parliamentary constituencies and boundaries in Cheshire
Notes and references
- "Birkenhead: Usual Resident Population, 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "Electorate Figures – Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Local Government Act 1972, s. 1 enacting Sch.1 Pt. 1
- The boundary factors for each minimum 10-yearly Boundary Commission review are set in the UK by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986
- List of Labour MPs elected in 2015 by % majority UK Political.info. Retrieved 2017-01-29
- Great Britain; Rickards, George K. (George Kettilby) (1807). The statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland [1807-1868/69]. unknown library. London, His Majesty's statute and law printers.
- Craig, Fred W. S. (1972). Boundaries of parliamentary constituencies 1885–1972. Chichester: Political Reference Publications. ISBN 0-900178-09-4. OCLC 539011.
- "Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983" (PDF).
- "Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1995".
- "Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007".
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 3)
- "Veteran MP Frank Field quits Labour whip". August 30, 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Stewart, Heather (30 August 2018). "Frank Field resigns Labour whip over antisemitism crisis". The Guardian.
- Birkenhead parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News
- "Birkenhead parliamentary constituency". BBC News.
- "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Birkenhead". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Parliamentary General Election Candidates Archived 2018-07-02 at the Wayback Machine, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
- "BBC NEWS – Election 2010 – Birkenhead". BBC News.
- "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Politics Resources". Election 1997. Politics Resources. 1 May 1997. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-25.C. Rallings & M. Thrasher, The Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies, p.31 (Plymouth: LGC Elections Centre, 1995)
- "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Craig, FWS, ed. (1974). British Parliamentary Election Results: 1885-1918. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 9781349022984.
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
- The Liberal Year Book, 1907
- Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1886
- Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
- "Birkenhead". Wrexham Guardian and Denbighshire and Flintshire Advertiser. 23 Aug 1879. p. 3. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
- "Representation of Birkenhead". The Morning Post. 21 November 1874. p. 4. Retrieved 27 December 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "The General Elections". Jersey Independent and Daily Telegraph. 31 January 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 27 December 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Birkenhead". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 14 September 1868. p. 3. Retrieved 28 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Representation of Birkenhead". Liverpool Mercury. 1 March 1861. p. 7. Retrieved 28 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.