Ceredigion (UK Parliament constituency)
Ceredigion shown within Wales Created: 1536 MP: Mark Fraser Williams Party: Liberal Democrat Type: House of Commons Preserved county: Dyfed EP constituency: Wales
Ceredigion, formerly Cardiganshire, is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Created in 1536, the boundaries have remained remarkably unchanged for nearly five centuries. From 1536 until 1885 there were two single-member constituencies, one being a county constituency (Cardiganshire) comprising the rural areas, and the other being a borough constituency (Cardigan District of Boroughs) comprising a number of separate towns; in 1885 the borough constituency was abolished, and its towns and electors incorporated into the county constituency. The towns which comprised Cardigan Boroughs varied slightly over this long period, but primarily consisted of Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Adpar, the latter now a suburb of Newcastle Emlyn across the River Teifi, in Carmarthenshire.
The county constituency was enlarged in 1983 with the addition of part of Pembrokeshire, being renamed Ceredigion and Pembroke North. In 1997 it reverted to its former boundaries, being renamed Ceredigion.
The Ceredigion Welsh Assembly constituency was created with the same boundaries in 1999.
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 History
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Election results
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Ceredigion, formerly known by the anglicised version of its name as Cardiganshire, was first enfranchised in 1536 when King Henry VIII incorporated Wales within England. The county was given one member, who was to be elected by each person who owned property of a sufficient value. In addition the inhabitants of Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Adpar and Lampeter were given the right to elect one MP between them, with the vote restricted to the Freemen. The general election of 1715 saw the return of Lewis Pryse, who was expelled from the House of Commons in the following year for refusing to attend the House to take oaths of loyalty to King George I after the Jacobite rising, with which he sympathised.
From 1832 the Reform Act changed the electoral system so that householders of homes worth over £10 were enfranchised in the boroughs. The Borough constituency was still dominated by the Loveden-Pryse family based in Gogerddan who were supporters of the Liberals; Pryse Pryse held the seat from 1818 until his death in 1849, except for the 1841 election (see below). The county saw more influence of the Powell family of Nanteos who were Conservatives; William Edward Powell held the seat from 1816 until he resigned in 1854. By agreement between the two, neither challenged the others' domination and so elections were almost always unopposed.
In the 1841 election there was a great deal of confusion in the borough constituency, which was being opposed. The poll books for Aberystwyth were either lost or stolen and never reached the returning officer, who decided that he should return both candidates due to the uncertainty (the Conservative was slightly ahead in the polls from the other three parts). Neither of the two candidates could actually speak in the House of Commons until a committee determined the election, and it accepted the evidence that the Liberal candidate (Pryse) had outpolled the Conservative (Harford) by 305 to 285, enough to make his election secure, so he was given the seat. Other than an 1855 byelection victory by 12 votes, the Conservatives never won the borough.
The county saw its first contest in the 1859 general election when two Conservatives fought for the seat. In 1865 the sitting MP stood down and there was a contest between two Liberals, won by Sir Thomas Lloyd, Bt. who defeated a Gladstonian opponent. Lloyd transferred to the borough in the 1868 election and there were close contests for the county thereafter, on a slightly widened franchise.
In a redistribution of seats for the 1885 general election, the borough constituency was abolished and absorbed into the county, with a further widening of the franchise. This combined to make the county a reasonably safe bet for the Liberal Party and supporters of Gladstone were returned at every election. Initially this was David Davies elected to represent the constituency with a majority of 2,323 (24.2%) on a turnout of 78%, but Davies broke with Gladstone over home rule for Ireland in 1886. He sought re-election as a Liberal Unionist but lost by 9 votes to William Bowen Rowlands, who was the Gladstonian candidate. Rowlands served until appointed (June 1893) as Recorder of Swansea, a part-time Judgeship which was incompatible with membership of the House of Commons.
Matthew Lewis Vaughan Davies of Plas Tanybwlch, who had been the Conservative candidate in the seat in 1885 but then went over to Gladstone, was elected unopposed in the byelection on 4 July 1893. He went on to become the longest serving MP for the constituency, holding it until 1921. His closest electoral call came in the 'Khaki election' of 1900 when he had a majority of 781 (9.4%). Like most Welsh Liberals, he supported David Lloyd George in the split in the Liberal Party, and not Herbert Asquith, and was therefore returned unopposed as a Coalition Liberal in 1918.
With Vaughan Davies known to be a supporter of Lloyd George, it was natural that Lloyd George looked to him to boost his support in the House of Lords and awarded him a peerage in the New Years' Honours list in 1921. Although he would have preferred to be called 'Lord Ceredigion', the Garter King of Arms refused this as an inappropriate title for a Baron, and so Vaughan Davies took his title from the River Ystwyth which ran past his home. The peerage created a vacancy in a historically Liberal seat and the Asquithites decided to take the Lloyd Georgeites on in their 'backyard'.
Ernest Evans, who asserted on his election posters that he was 'THE Liberal candidate', was a Barrister from Aberystwyth and had been Private Secretary to Lloyd George himself, and therefore had the blessing of the Coalition and official support from the Conservatives. Against him, W. Llewelyn Williams was sponsored by the Asquithite 'Welsh Liberal Federation'. No other candidate stood and in the straight fight, Evans won with a majority of 3,590 (14.6%). He held on as a 'National Liberal' (as Lloyd George's supporters called themselves) in the 1922 general election but with a slim majority of 515 votes (2.0%) over Rhys Hopkin Morris.
The sudden shotgun merger of the two factions in the Liberal Party led to Evans getting the official approval of the unified party for the 1923 election. However, the Conservatives decided to fight and this deprived him of their votes. Hopkin Morris decided to fight again as an unofficial Liberal and won with a 5,078 vote majority. He was lucky to survive the 1924 election, a disaster for the Liberals, by being returned unopposed. The first Labour Party candidate stood against him at the 1931 general election and polled 24% of the vote in a straight fight against Morris, who had a 13,752 (52.0%) majority.
In 1932, Morris left Parliament temporarily (he was later to return as MP for Carmarthen) when he was appointed as a Metropolitan Police magistrate. The byelection on 22 September 1932 saw the first three-way fight between the parties, but was won by Owen Evans for the Liberals. Like many of the Liberal MPs he had been a Barrister. Evans died shortly before the 1945 general election, but the seat was easily held by his successor Roderic Bowen; unusually the Labour vote actually fell in percentage terms compared with the previous election despite the Labour landslide in the country at large.
Labour established itself as the main challenger to the Liberals at the 1950 general election in a three-way contest, and the Conservatives opted out of the contest thereafter until 1964. This was partly a move to keep the seat from going Labour. Plaid Cymru first fought the seat in 1959 and kept their deposit (just, with 12.8% of the vote).
With a four-way contest involving the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru at the 1964 general election, and a national swing to Labour, Roderic Bowen suffered a precpitate decline in his share of the vote to only 38.4%; he was re-elected with a majority of 2,219 (7.4%) over Labour. After the death of the Speaker in 1965, Bowen accepted the offer to become a Deputy Speaker, which prevented him from speaking on behalf of his constituency. For the 1966 election, Labour selected Elystan Morgan who had been a member of Plaid Cymru until 1964; with a further national swing and Morgan making a credible bid for the Welsh-speaking vote, Labour won the seat by 523 votes.
Morgan managed to hold on to the seat with an increased majority in the 1970 election. The Liberal vote had collapsed nationwide, with Plaid Cymru taking third place. However, the Liberal resurgence in the early 1970s led to the party regaining the seat in the February 1974 general election with Geraint Howells; the October 1974 general election saw almost the same result. In 1979, Howells increased his majority with Labour falling to third place and the Conservatives increasing their vote by more than 20%; this was one of the highest swings in the whole country.
In boundary changes in 1983, the constituency gained a small part of Pembrokeshire and also took a Welsh version of its name, becoming known as Ceredigion and Pembroke North. Geraint Howells was re-elected with the Conservatives second, Labour third and Plaid Cymru fourth in both the 1983 and 1987 general elections.
The result of the 1992 general election in Ceredigion and Pembroke North was one of the least expected in the country. Cynog Dafis, a teacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi, Llandysul, standing as a Plaid Cymru candidate with support from the local branch of the Green Party, gained the seat with a majority of 3,193. Dafis more than doubled his majority in 1997 with Labour coming in second and the Liberal Democrat vote dropping by 10% to 16.5%. The constituency name was shortened to Ceredigion at this election as it reverted to its former borders, having lost the part of North Pembrokeshire in boundary changes.
Cynog Dafis was elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 and unlike the other 'dual mandate' MPs chose to resign his seat at Westminster, causing a byelection which saw Simon Thomas retain the seat for Plaid Cymru. The by-election saw Labour fall from second to fourth place and the Liberal Democrats vote rise. At the 2001 general election, Thomas retained the seat, although the Liberal Democrat vote again rose to 26.9%.
2005 and 2010 Liberal resurgence
At the 2005 general election, the Liberal Democrats regained the seat. Mark Williams, who had fought the seat in the 2000 by-election and in 2001, had a majority of 219 (0.6%) following a swing of 6% over Simon Thomas. Mark Williams was the first non-Welsh speaking Member of Parliament elected to represent the constituency since the extension of the franchise in the 19th century. At the 2010 general election, he received a massive increase in his vote, polling over 50% of the votes cast and raising his majority from 219 to 8,324.
Members of Parliament
- 1541–1543: Rice ap Philip
- 1543–1544: Thomas Gynns
- 1545–1547: David ap Llewellin Lloid of Llan Dissill
- 1547: Walter Devereux
- 1553 (Mar): James Williams
- 1553 (Oct): John Pryse II
- 1554 (Apr): John Pryse II
- 1554 (Nov): James Williams
- 1555: Sir Henry Johnes of Abermarlais
- 1558: Sir Henry Johnes of Abermarlais
- 1563: John Pryse
- 1571: John Pryse
- 1572: John Pryse
- 1584–1585: Richard Pryse
- 1586–1587: Griffith Lloyd
- 1588–1593: Richard Pryse
- 1597–1598: Thomas Pryse
- 1601: Richard Pryse
- 1604–1611: Sir John Lewis
- 1614–1622: Sir Richard Pryse
- 1624–1629: James Lewis
- 1629–1640: No Parliaments summoned
- 1640: James Lewis
- 1640–1644: Walter Lloyd (Royalist) – disabled to sit, 5 February 1644
- 1646–1648: Sir Richard Pryse, 1st Baronet – excluded in Pride's Purge, December 1648
Cardiganshire was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
- 1654–1655: Col. James Philipps
- 1654–1655: Rev. Jenkin Lloyd
- 1656: Col. James Philipps
- 1656–1658: Col. John Clark
- 1656–1658: James Lewis
- 1659: Col. James Philipps
Year Member Party April 1660 Sir Richard Pryse, 2nd Baronet 1661 Sir John Vaughan 1669 Edward Vaughan 1685 John Lewis 1690 Sir Carbery Pryse, 4th Baronet (died 1694) 1694 John Vaughan, 1st Viscount Lisburne 1698 John Lewis February 1701 Sir Humphrey Mackworth December 1701 Lewis Pryse 1702 Sir Humphrey Mackworth 1705 John Pugh 1708 Lewis Pryse 1710 Sir Humphrey Mackworth 1713 Thomas Johnes 1715 Lewis Pryse 1718 Owen Brigstocke 1722 Francis Cornwallis 1727 John Vaughan, 2nd Viscount Lisburne 1734 Walter Lloyd (1678-1747) 1742 Thomas Powell 1747 John Lloyd 1755 Hon. Wilmot Vaughan 1761 John Pugh Pryse 1768 Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne 1796 Thomas Johnes 1816 William Edward Powell Tory 1834 Conservative 1854 Ernest Vaughan, 4th Earl of Lisburne Conservative 1859 William Thomas Rowland Powell Conservative 1865 Sir Thomas Lloyd, 1st Baronet Liberal 1868 Evan Matthew Richards Liberal 1874 Thomas Edward Lloyd Conservative 1880 Lewis Pugh Pugh Liberal 1885 David Davies Liberal 1886 William Bowen Rowlands Liberal 1895 Matthew Vaughn-Davies Liberal 1921 Ernest Evans Coalition Liberal 1923 Rhys Hopkin Morris Independent Liberal 1932 Owen Evans Liberal 1945 Roderic Bowen Liberal 1966 Elystan Morgan Labour 1974 Geraint Howells Liberal 1983 Name changed to Ceredigion and Pembroke North 1988 Geraint Howells Liberal Democrat 1992 Cynog Dafis Plaid Cymru 1997 Name changed to Ceredigion 2000 Simon Thomas Plaid Cymru 2005 Mark Williams Liberal Democrat
Elections in the 2010s
General Election 2010: Ceredigion Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Democrat Mark Williams 19,139 50.0 +13.5 Plaid Cymru Penri James 10,815 28.3 -7.6 Conservative Luke Evetts 4,421 11.6 -0.8 Labour Richard Boudier 2,210 5.8 -6.3 UKIP Elwyn Williams 977 2.6 N/A Green Leila Kiersch 696 1.8 -0.5 Majority 8,324 21.8 Turnout 38,258 64.8 -3.2 Liberal Democrat hold Swing +10.6
Elections in the 2000s
General Election 2005: Ceredigion Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Democrat Mark Williams 13,130 36.53 +9.66 Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas 12,911 35.92 -2.35 Conservative John Harrison 4,455 12.39 -7.05 Labour Alun Davies 4,337 12.06 -3.36 Green Dave Bradney 846 2.35 Veritas Iain Sheldon 268 0.75 Majority 219 0.61 -12.01 Turnout 35,947 67.2 +5.53 Liberal Democrat gain from Plaid Cymru Swing +6.0 General Election 2001: Ceredigion Party Candidate Votes % ±% Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas 13,241 38.3 -3.4 Liberal Democrat Mark Williams 9,297 26.9 +10.4 Conservative Paul Davies 6,730 19.4 +4.6 Labour David Grace 5,338 15.4 -8.9 Majority 3,944 11.4 -8.4 Turnout 34,606 61.7 -12.2 Plaid Cymru hold Swing -6.9 Ceredigion by-election, 2000 Party Candidate Votes % ±% Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas 10,716 42.8 +1.1 Liberal Democrat Mark Williams 5,768 23.0 +6.5 Conservative Paul Davies 4,138 16.5 +1.6 Labour Maria Battle 3,612 14.4 -9.9 UKIP John Bufton 487 1.9 Independent Green – Save the World Climate John Davies 289 1.2 Wales on Sunday – Match Funding Now Martin Shipton 55 0.2% Majority 4,948 19.8 +2.48 Turnout 25,143 46.0 -27.9 Plaid Cymru hold Swing -2.7
Elections in the 1990s
General Election 1997: Ceredigion Party Candidate Votes % ±% Plaid Cymru Cynog Glyndwr Dafis 16,728 41.62 +10.67 Labour Robert (Hag) Harris 9,767 24.30 +5.73 Liberal Democrat Dai Davies 6,616 16.46 -10.03 Conservative Dr. Felix Aubel 5,983 14.88 -9.08 Referendum Party John Leaney 1,092 2.71 Majority 6,961 17.32 +4.94 Turnout 40,186 73.90 -4.05 Plaid Cymru hold Swing +2.47 General Election 1992: Ceredigion & Pembroke North Party Candidate Votes % ±% Plaid Cymru Cynog Glyndwr Dafis 16,020 30.3 +15.0 Liberal Democrat Geraint Wyn Howells 12,827 25.1 -11.6 Conservative John Williams 12,718 24.8 -2.0 Labour John Davies 9,637 18.8 +0.3 Majority 3,193 6.2 Turnout 51,202 77.4 +0.9 Plaid Cymru gain from Liberal Democrat Swing
Elections in the 1980s
General Election 1987: Ceredigion & Pembroke North Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Geraint Wyn Howells 17,683 36.6 -5.2 Conservative John Williams 12,983 26.9 -3.0 Labour John Davies 8,965 18.6 +4.0 Plaid Cymru Cynog Glyndwr Dafis 7,848 16.2 +3.3 Green Marilyn Wakefield 821 1.7 +0.8 Majority 4,700 9.7 -2.3 Turnout 48,300 76.5 -1.3 Liberal hold Swing General Election 1983: Ceredigion & Pembroke North Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Geraint Wyn Howells 19,677 41.8 Conservative Tom Raw-Rees 14,038 29.8 Labour Grifith Hughes 6,840 14.5 Plaid Cymru Cynog Glyndwr Dafis 6,072 12.9 Ecology Miss M. Smith 431 0.9 Majority 5,639 12.0 Turnout 47,058 77.8 Liberal hold Swing
Elections in the 1970s
General Election 1979: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Geraint Wyn Howells 13,227 35.6 -6.6 Conservative I. Emlyn Thomas 11,033 29.7 +20.3 Labour John L. Powell 7,488 20.2 -15.3 Plaid Cymru Dafydd J. L. Hughes 5,382 14.5 +1.3 Majority 2,194 5.9 -1.1 Turnout 37,130 81.5 +1.0 Liberal hold Swing General Election, October 1974: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Geraint Wyn Howells 14,612 42.2 Labour (Dafydd) Elystan Morgan 12,202 35.2 Plaid Cymru Clifford G Davies 4,583 13.2 Conservative Delwyn Williams 3,257 9.4 Majority 2,410 9.4 Turnout 34,654 80.5 -3.2 Liberal hold Swing General Election, February 1974: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Geraint Wyn Howells 14,371 40.2 Labour (Dafydd) Elystan Morgan 11,895 33.2 Conservative Trefor W. Llewellyn 4,758 13.3 Plaid Cymru Clifford G. Davies 4,754 13.3 Majority 2,476 7.0 Turnout 35,778 83.7 Liberal gain from Labour Swing General Election 1970: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Labour (Dafydd) Elystan Morgan 11,063 33.4 Liberal Huw Lloyd Williams 9,800 29.6 Plaid Cymru Hywel ap Robert 6,498 19.6 Conservative David George 5,715 17.3 Majority 1,263 3.8 Turnout 40,226 82.2 Labour hold Swing
Elections in the 1960s
1966 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Labour (Dafydd) Elystan Morgan 11,302 Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 10,779 Conservative John Stradling Thomas 5,893 Plaid Cymru E. G. Millward 2,469 Majority 523 Turnout 30,443 Registered electors 37,553 Labour gain from Liberal Swing 1964 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 11,500 Labour D. L. Davies 9,281 Conservative Arthur J. Ryder 5,897 Plaid Cymru Gareth W. Evans 3,262 Majority 2,219 Turnout 29,940 Registered electors 37,964 Liberal hold Swing
Elections in the 1950s
1959 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 17,868 Labour Mrs. Loti Rees Hughes 8,559 Plaid Cymru Gareth W. Evans 3,880 Majority 9,309 Turnout 30,307 Registered electors 38,878 Liberal hold Swing 1955 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 18,907 Labour David Jones-Davies 10,090 Majority 8,817 Turnout 28,997 Registered electors 39,902 Liberal hold Swing 1951 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 19,959 Labour Rev. Brynmor Williams 9,697 Majority 10,262 Turnout 29,656 Registered electors 41,977 Liberal hold Swing 1950 general election: Cardigan Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 17,093 Labour Iwan J. Morgan 9,055 Conservative Dr. G.S.R. Little 6,618 Majority 8,038 Turnout 32,766 Registered electors 44,627 Liberal hold Swing
Elections in the 1940s
1945 general election: Cardiganshire Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (Evan) Roderic Bowen 18,912 63.8 +2.7 Labour Iwan J. Morgan 10,718 36.2 -2.7 Majority 8,194 27.6 +5.4 Turnout 29,630 71.2 +6.1 Registered electors 41,597 Liberal hold Swing +2.7
Elections in the 1930s
1935 general election: Cardiganshire Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (David) Owen Evans 15,846 61.1 +12.4 Labour R. Moelwyn Hughes 10,085 38.9 +19.7 Majority 5,761 22.2 +5.6 Turnout 25,931 65.1 -5.3 Registered electors 39,851 Liberal hold Swing N/A 22 September 1932 by-election: Cardiganshire Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal (David) Owen Evans 13,437 48.7 -27.3 Conservative Col. E.C.L. Fitzwilliams 8,866 32.1 N/A Labour Rev. D.M. Jones 5,295 19.2 -4.8 Majority 4,571 16.6 -35.4 Turnout 27,598 70.4 +2.9 Registered electors 39,206 Liberal hold Swing N/A
- Resulted from the resignation of Rhys Hopkin Morris, in August 1932, upon his appointment as a Metropolitan Police Magistrate
1931 general election: Cardiganshire Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal Rhys Hopkin Morris 20,113 76.0 +15.5 Labour J. Lloyd Jones 6,361 24.0 N/A Majority 26,474 52.0 +31.0 Turnout 35,300 67.5 -5.7 Registered electors 39,206 Liberal hold Swing N/A
- Cardiganshire by-election, 1932
- Ceredigion by-election, 2000
- List of Parliamentary constituencies in Dyfed
- ^ Members expelled from the House of Commons since the Restoration
- ^ Alamanac of British Politics, 5th ed, Robert Waller & Byron Criddle
- ^ Expelled the House 23 March 1716 for failing to attend to take an oath of loyalty.
- ^ Ceredigion Cyngor Sir Ceredigion County Council – candidates Ceredigion
- ^ Ceredigion BBC Election – Ceredigion
Constituencies in Wales (40) Labour (26)
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Conservative (8) Liberal Democrats (3) Plaid Cymru (3) Wales European constituency: Conservative (1) · Labour (1) · Plaid Cymru (1) · UKIP (1)
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