This article is about the British constituency in Surrey, England. For the Canadian provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia of a similar name, see Surrey-Guildford.
The seat elected between 1868 and 2001 Conservatives. Exceptions in this period took place when the two-then-three main British parties' policies were beginning to coalesce. The first was a continuation of the centuries-old representation of Guildford by influential members of the Earl of Onslow's family, including a single member winning three widely spaced elections, before being defeated by a further member of the same family in its minor Sussex and British Indian branch, then the majority of the seat's voters were again swayed toward the Liberal landslide of the 1906 general election.
Modern political history
Successive elections in 2001 and 2005 saw marginal majorities of under 2% of the vote - in favour of a Liberal Democrat and then a Conservative. The 2015 result brought the incumbent MP a conservative majority of more than 41%, up from 14% in 2010.
Context of 1906.
Context of 1923
1885–1918: The Boroughs of Guildford and Godalming, the Sessional Division of Farnham, and part of the Sessional Division of Guildford.
1918–1950: The Boroughs of Guildford and Godalming, the Urban District of Haslemere,[lower-alpha 1] the Rural District of Hambledon,[lower-alpha 1] and the Rural District of Guildford[lower-alpha 2] except the civil parish of Pirbright.
Was part of Sessional Division of Farnham, the remainder of which formed, with Woking and most of modern Surrey Heath a new seat, named Farnham
This meant rural gains from Chertsey e.g. Send, Ripley, E. & W. Clandon and E. & W. Horsley
1950–1983: The Borough of Guildford, in the Rural District of Guildford the parishes of Artington, Compton, Puttenham, Shackleford, Shalford, Wanborough, and Worplesdon, and in the Rural District of Hambledon the parishes of Alfold, Bramley, Busbridge, Cranleigh, Dunsfold, Ewhurst, Hambledon, Hascombe, and Wonersh.
1983–1997: The Borough of Guildford wards of Christchurch, Friary and St Nicolas, Holy Trinity, Merrow and Burpham, Onslow, Pilgrims, Shalford, Stoke, Stoughton, Tongham, Westborough, and Worplesdon, and the District of Waverley wards of Blackheath and Wonersh, Bramley, Cranleigh East, Cranleigh West, Ewhurst, and Shamley Green.
1997–2010: As above less Tongham ward.
2010–present: The Borough of Guildford wards of Burpham, Christchurch, Friary and St Nicolas, Holy Trinity, Merrow, Onslow, Pilgrims, Shalford, Stoke, Stoughton, Westborough, and Worplesdon, and the Borough of Waverley wards of Alfold, Blackheath and Wonersh, Cranleigh East, Cranleigh Rural and Ellens Green, Cranleigh West, Ewhurst, and Shamley Green and Cranleigh North.
The seat, at greatest limits from 1885 to 1918, still comprises Guildford and nearby parts of Surrey.
Boundaries were redrawn in time for the 1950 general election. From 1918 to 1950 the three parts of western Surrey are set out at the 1918 results below. The next change saw an additional seat duty carved out, to be Woking. As a result, Guildford, now oversized, shrank considerably in area and population. To the south the areas of Godalming, Elstead, Thursley, Whitley, Haslemere and Chiddingford were added to the Farnham seat. To the east Send, Ripley, Wisley, Ockham, St Martha, Albury, Shere, Clandon and Horsley were added to Dorking.
These boundaries centred on the town of Guildford plus an area southwards towards Cranleigh, became, with small changes in later reviews, form the basic shape for Guildford until present.
From 1885 to 1918 the west part of Surrey had been represented by two seats - in the north the seat of Chertsey, in the south that of Guildford. Boundaries were redrawn for proper apportionment in time for the 1918 general election such that the same area saw three seats - Farnham in the west, Chertsey in the north east and Guildford in the south east.
As a result, the seat lost the areas of Ash, Normandy, Seale, Frensham and Farnham, towards its west, but to the east gained the areas of Merrow, Send, Ripley, Ockham, Wisley, Clandon and Horsley from Chertsey.
Constituency boundaries were redrawn in time for the 1885 general election. From 1868 to 1885 the west part of Surrey had been represented by two constituencies, one known as Guildford (which consisted of the town centre of Guildford and little else) and one constituency known as Surrey Western, which comprised the rest of that part of the county of Surrey. The Guildford constituency was both geographically and in size of electorate significantly smaller than the Surrey Western constituency. The 1885 to 1918 constituency boundaries saw the area of west Surrey divided into two constituencies more equal in size of population and land area. The north part of west Surrey was given the constituency name Chertsey, the south part Guildford.
Constituency boundaries were redrawn in time for the 1868 election.
Prior to the 1868 general election, the constituency of Guildford was represented by two Members of Parliament. That was reduced to one from 1868 onwards.
The 1868 to 1885 constituency known as Guildford was geographically limited to an area around the current centre of Guildford town. This is in marked contrast to the various post-1885 versions of the constituency known as Guildford all of which have had a much greater geographical area. The 1868 constituency was, at its maximum, little over one mile east to west, and just over one mile north to south. (Most of the area which is in the modern constituency of Guildford would in 1868 have been part of the Surrey Western Constituency, rather than the Guildford Constituency.)
Party designations for many candidates during the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s can be problematic as party ties were not as strong as those that developed, in Britain, in the late 19th century. Therefore, for the 1830s to 1850s election results, listed below, the term Liberal includes Whigs and Radicals; and the term Conservative includes Tories and Peelites, unless otherwise specified.