Cambridge University (UK Parliament constituency)
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Cambridge University was a university constituency electing two members to the
British House of Commons The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster in London, England. The House of Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 mem ...
, from 1603 to 1950.


Franchise and method of election

This university constituency was created by a
Royal Charter A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law ...
of 1603. It was abolished in 1950 by the Representation of the People Act 1948. The constituency was not a geographical area. Its electorate consisted of the graduates of the
University of Cambridge The University of Cambridge is a Public university, public collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the world' ...
. Before 1918 the franchise was restricted to male graduates with a Doctorate or
Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA, M.A., AM, or A.M.) is the holder of a master's degree awarded by University, universities in many countries. The degree is usually contrasted with that of Master of ...
degree. Sedgwick records that there were 377 electors in 1727. For the 1754–1790 period, Namier and Brooke estimated the electorate at about 500. The constituency returned two
Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house ...
. Before 1918 they were elected by
plurality-at-large voting Plurality block voting, also known as plurality-at-large voting, block vote or block voting (BV) is a non-Proportional representation, proportional voting system for electing representatives in Multiwinner voting, multi-winner elections. Each vo ...
, but from 1918 onwards the two members were elected by the
Single Transferable Vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a multi-winner electoral system in which voters cast a single vote in the form of a ranked-choice ballot. Voters have the option to rank candidates, and their vote may be transferred according to alternate ...
method.


History

In the early 18th century, the electors of both English universities were mostly Tories, but the Whig ministers of King George I were able to persuade him to use his
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the monarch, sovereign and whic ...
to confer Cambridge doctorates on a large number of Whigs, so that from 1727 the university largely returned Whig representatives. At
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
, the King did not enjoy the same prerogative power, so that the University of Oxford constituency remained Tory, and indeed often Jacobite, in its preferences. The leading 18th-century Whig politician
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, (21 July 169317 November 1768) was a British British Whig Party, Whig statesman who served as the 4th and 6th Prime Minister of Great Britain, his off ...
, was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1748 to 1768 and recommended to the electors suitable candidates to represent them in Parliament. This practice continued under his successor, another Whig Duke and Prime Minister, Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, Chancellor of the university from 1768 to 1811. However, Grafton was less influential as a politician than Newcastle had been and also less attentive towards the university, and as a result some of his nominations came in for criticism, notably that of his friend Richard Croftes. Croftes was far from typical of a university member of parliament: he was neither the son of a peer, like the Hon. John Townshend, the Marquess of Granby, and Grafton's own son the Earl of Euston, nor a distinguished lawyer-politician, such as William de Grey, James Mansfield, and Sir Vicary Gibbs, nor a prominent political figure like
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a British statesman, the youngest and last prime minister of Great Britain (before the Acts of Union 1800) and then first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister of the Un ...
and Lord Henry Petty. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Pittite and Tory candidates began to be elected. At the appearance of this political development, some of the Pittite members, including the younger William Pitt himself, one of the members for the university from 1784 to 1806, described themselves as Whigs. As time passed, the division between the 19th century Tory and Whig parties became clearer. The future Prime Minister, Viscount Palmerston, retained his university seat as a Whig after he left the Tory ranks, but in 1831 he was defeated. After Palmerston ceased to represent the university he was elected by a territorial constituency. From then until the 1920s, all of the university's members were Tories and/or Conservatives. Even after the introduction of the single transferable vote in 1918, most of the members continued to be elected as Conservatives.


Members of Parliament

This is a list of people who have been elected to represent this university in the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
.


1603 to 1660

* ''Constituency created 1603''


1660 to 1784


1784 to 1950

Notes:- * 1 Pitt called himself a Whig, but is usually retrospectively regarded as a Tory since most of his followers (whether their background was in the Whig or Tory tradition) came to call themselves the Tory Party in the decade after Pitt's death. * 2 Jebb died on 10 December 1905 – seat vacant at dissolution. * 3 Co. is an abbreviation for Coalition. * 4 Ind. is an abbreviation for Independent. * 5 Sir Geoffrey G. Butler died on 2 May 1929 – seat vacant at dissolution.


Elections before 1715


Election by Block Vote 1715–1918


Elections in the 1710s


Elections in the 1720s

* ''Death of Paske'' * ''Note (1722): Stooks Smith gives Willoughby 319 votes.'' * ''Note (1727): Unusually, for a pre-1832 election, Stooks Smith records the total number of electors for the constituency as well as the number who voted; so a turnout figure can be calculated.''


Elections in the 1730s

* ''Note (1734): Goodrick was an Opposition Whig''


Elections in the 1740s

* ''Seat vacated when Finch was appointed a Groom of the Bedchamber''


Elections in the 1750s

* ''Seat vacated when Finch was appointed to an office''


Elections in the 1760s

* ''Seat vacated when Finch was appointed to an office''


Elections in the 1770s

* ''Seat vacated on the appointment of Yorke as Lord Chancellor'' * ''Seat vacated on the appointment of de Grey as Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas'' * ''Succession of Granby as the 4th Duke of Rutland''


Elections in the 1780s

* ''Note (1780): Stooks Smith records Townshend as getting 237 votes.'' * ''Seat vacated on Townshend being appointed to an office'' * ''Seat vacated on Townshend being appointed to an office'' * ''Seat vacated on Mansfield being appointed as Solicitor General for England and Wales'' * The 1784 election was broadly a contest between the new government of Pitt and the ousted Fox-North Coalition, in which both Townshend and Mansfield had held office.


Elections in the 1790s

* ''Note (1790): Party labels in the 1790–1832 period follow Stooks Smith, who classifies Pitt and his Pittite supporters as Tories without regard to what they would have actually called themselves.'' * ''Seat vacated on Pitt being appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports'' * ''Seat vacated on Euston being appointed to an office''


Elections in the 1800s

* ''Seat vacated on Pitt being appointed
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
'' * ''Death of Pitt'' * ''Palmerston was a Peer of Ireland''


Elections in the 1810s

* ''Succession of Euston as the 4th Duke of Grafton'' * ''Seat vacated on Gibbs being appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas''


Elections in the 1820s

* ''Death of Smyth'' * ''Seat vacated on the appointment of Copley as Lord Chancellor and creation as 1st Baron Lyndhurst'' * ''Note (1827): Unusually for a pre-1832 election Stooks Smith provides a total electorate figure, so a turnout percentage can be calculated. See the 1727 result above for another instance.'' * ''Seat vacated on the appointment of Tindal as Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas''


Elections in the 1830s

* ''Seat vacated on the appointment of Palmerston as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs'' * ''Manners-Sutton created 'The 1st Viscount Canterbury'.'' * ''Note (1837): McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book classifies Law as a Peelite between this election and that of 1847.''


Elections in the 1840s

* ''Note (1841): McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book classifies Goulburn as a Liberal Conservative and Law as a Peelite for this election.'' * ''Goulburn appointed
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
.'' * ''Note 1 (1847): 3,800 registered electors; 4,682 votes cast; minimum possible turnout estimated by dividing votes by 2. To the extent that electors did not use both their votes, the figure will be an underestimate.'' * ''Note 2 (1847): McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book classifies Goulburn as a Liberal Conservative and Law as a Peelite for this election.''


Elections in the 1850s

* ''Death of Law.'' * ''Note (1852): McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book classifies Goulburn as a Liberal Conservative for this election.'' * ''Death of Goulburn.'' * ''Appointment of Walpole as Secretary of State for the Home Department.''


Elections in the 1860s

* ''Appointment of Walpole as Secretary of State for the Home Department.'' * ''Appointment of Selwyn as Solicitor-General.'' * ''Appointment of Selwyn as Judge of the Court of Appeal in Chancery.''


Elections in the 1870s


Elections in the 1880s

Walpole's resignation caused a by-election. Raikes was appointed Postmaster General, requiring a by-election. Beresford-Hope's death caused a by-election.


Elections in the 1890s


Elections in the 1900s


Elections in the 1910s


Elections 1918–1950

General Elections, from 1918 when most constituencies polled on the same day, were on different polling days than for territorial constituencies. The polls for university constituencies were open for five days. The elections were also conducted by
Single Transferable Vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a multi-winner electoral system in which voters cast a single vote in the form of a ranked-choice ballot. Voters have the option to rank candidates, and their vote may be transferred according to alternate ...
.


Elections in the 1910s


Elections in the 1920s

* ''As two candidates achieved the quota only one count was necessary'' * ''As two candidates achieved the quota only one count was necessary''


Elections in the 1930s

* ''As two candidates achieved the quota only one count was necessary''


Elections in the 1940s


See also

* List of former United Kingdom Parliament constituencies


References

* ''Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885–1972'', compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972) * ''British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885'', compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977) * ''British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918'', compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1974) * ''British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949'', compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press, revised edition 1977) * ''McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book: British Election Results 1832–1918'' (8th edition, The Harvester Press 1971) * ''The House of Commons 1715–1754'', by Romney Sedgwick (HMSO 1970) * ''The House of Commons 1754–1790'', by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (HMSO 1964) * ''The Parliaments of England'' by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844–50), second edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973) * ''Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832–1885'', edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976) * ''Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886–1918'', edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978) * ''Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume III 1919–1945'', edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1979) * ''Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume IV 1945–1979'', edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1981) * ;Specific {{DEFAULTSORT:Cambridge University (Uk Parliament Constituency) University constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Parliamentary constituencies in the East of England (historic) Constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom established in 1603 Constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom disestablished in 1950 Parliamentary constituency Constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom represented by a sitting Prime Minister University (UK Parliament constituency) 1603 establishments in England