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Cambridge Election Results since 1935

Colin Rosenstiel died on 8th May 2018, a few days after attending the 2018 election count but without being able to complete the necessary updates to the site. Those and subsequent results have been updated by Keith Edkins, who will attempt to keep this site maintained in the spirit in which Colin created it. Except where indicated, the introduction below is Colin's, as is all compilation of data up to 2017.          K. E.


The increased interest by political parties in local elections in recent years has led to greater public interest in local election results. These web pages record the run of results from 1935 of Cambridge City Council (Borough Council until 1951) results, with the addition from the 1972-4 local government reorganisation of the County Council elections that form part of the four-yearly cycle of elections then introduced. An alphabetical list of all candidates who contested elections in that period is included, as well as party total vote summaries for each annual round of elections and other interesting details.

The elections between September 1964 and April 1970 of the short-lived Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely County Council are also included. Some of the cumulative statistics do not include these elections because such a high proportion were unopposed. For similar reasons the elections of Cambridgeshire County Council (which was abolished in 1964) are not included.

1945 was originally taken as the start date for two reasons: firstly there were no elections during the War, the normal cycle only being fully re-established from 1949; and, secondly, pre-war reporting of elections was so sparse, especially on candidates' party labels (which were only introduced on ballot papers from 1970), that it was not possible for many years to trace the series accurately back to a more logical start date, the whole council election in 1935 for the extended Borough area that still applies. Most of the pre-1945 data is now included, listing the council membership before the 1935 election and the election results from 1935 to 1938.

*** The pre-war results are now included on the main city ward pages for the 12 wards that existed at the time....K.E. May 2018.

Electoral History

Cambridge City Council has had 42 councillors since 1935. Initially 12 wards each elected 3 councillors and there were 6 University councillors. All councillors served three-year terms, one third retiring each year, one in each ward plus two of the University councillors. In addition there were 14 aldermen, including 2 University aldermen. Aldermen were appointed by the councillors for six-year terms, half retiring every three years. There is no record of aldermanic or University councillor elections here but their names and terms of office are included in the "Council members at a glance" pages up to the date of their abolition in 1974. Aldermen are included in the alphabetical list of candidates showing their date of first appointment as such, when that was before 1945.

From 1974 the city elected 14 members of Cambridgeshire County Council. At first the two largest wards, Cherry Hinton and Newnham, were each divided into two electoral divisions. From 1985 the 14 electoral divisions adopted the same boundaries as the wards. In 2005 the same adjustment was made following the 2004 ward boundary changes.

Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely County Council had 21 members representing the City. All but the smallest wards were each divided into two electoral divisions, except that West Chesterton had three until 1967.

The ward boundaries were unchanged from 1935 until 1968 when the inner-city St Matthew's Ward was abolished, most of its electorate being divided between Market and Petersfield Wards, and its councillors allocated to the new Arbury Ward created, mostly from West Chesterton, to represent the growing suburban estates there. More minor changes were made to all the other wards except Coleridge. The minimum voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 in 1970. In 1971, most students became eligible to vote for the first time, with dramatic effects on the electorates of some wards, especially Market and Newnham.

Local Government Re-organisation

After the 1973 Local Government re-organisation the City Council retained 42 councillors, all now elected. Initially they were elected from the same 12 wards, each being allocated between 2 and 5 councillors in proportion to its electorate, all for a three-year term. 14 county councillors were allocated to represent the City, elected for 4 years, with one electoral division per ward except that the two largest wards were each divided into two divisions.

The 1976 City election started a new system of retirement by thirds, following the creation of 14 new wards with changed boundaries. City elections are now held in 3 years out of 4, with councillors serving 4 year terms. In the fourth year County elections are held. Due to delays at the Local Government Boundary Commission, the 1976 boundary changes did not take effect to align the County electoral divisions with the wards until 1985.

Another watershed was crossed in 2004 when the City Council had another election for the whole council on new boundaries, as in 1976. The same 14 wards continue but with changed boundaries. The members elected in 2004 retired by thirds in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The County Council election in 2005 was held on the same new boundaries. Thus the four-yearly cycle was restored.

The ordered arrangements since 1973 of city wards and county electoral divisions aligning, other than when a county boundary review didn't follow a wards review promptly between 1976 and 1985, has now broken down following a review of the county electoral divisions in advance of a city wards review. The number of county electoral divisions is now 12 instead of 14 and they don't align with the wards (except for Abbey). The most extreme case is Chesterton electoral division which is comprised close to half and half from parts of East and West Chesterton wards. Coleridge ward is divided almost equally three ways between Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith's and Romsey electoral divisions. While a review of city ward boundaries is now due it may not be implemented before 2020.

Detailed Ward and Electoral Division Results

Candidates are listed in descending order of votes. Where candidates were not known by their first forename, the initials before the commonly used forename are shown. The names of candidates who stood more than once are recorded consistently except in a few cases where a clear change is understood to have been intended. Councillors seeking re-election are marked, even if they stood in a different ward. Candidates' parties are shown as three-letter abbreviations.

Long-term parties listed in totals breakdown
Com = Communist
Con = Conservative
Eco = Ecology (until 1985)
Gre = Green (from 1986)
I.C = Independent Conservative
ILP = Independent Labour *
Ind = Independent
LDm = Liberal Democrat (from 1990)
Lab = Labour
Lib = Liberal (until 1987)
NL = National Liberal (pre-1945)
RPA = Ratepayers' Associations
SDP = Social Democratic Party (1982-7)
SLD = Social & Liberal Democrat (the Liberal Democrats' name 1988-9)
UKIP  =  UK Independence Party (UKIP)
WCA = Women Citizens' Association (pre-1945)
Transient parties, included in "Independents & Others"
EDm = English Democrats (2008)
LfL = Left List (2008)
NLP = Natural Law (1995)
Reb = Reboot Democracy (2021)
Rnw = Renew Party (2019)
Rsp = Respect (2006/7)
SoA = Socialist Alliance (2002/3)
Soc = Cambridge Socialists (2010-3)
USp = United Sports (1992)
WPB = Workers Party of Britain (2021)
WRP = Workers Revolutionary Party (1982)
Y.L = Young Liberal (1968)

* There was not an active Independent Labour Party (sensu George Orwell & Fenner Brockway) in Cambridge in the period covered, but on several occasions individuals or groups of candidates stood in defiance of their party.

All Liberal and SDP candidates between 1982 and 1987 stood for the Alliance. The parties merged to form the Social and Liberal Democrats in 1988, re-named the Liberal Democrats from 1990. The distinction between Lib and SDP within the Alliance was not always rigid after 1983. Members of both parties are categorised by the party they joined first. No candidates have yet stood from the fractions of the former Alliance parties which did not accept the merger.

Note that in all the changes of party names all relevant members continued as members of the changed parties. Thus anyone who stood in a Ward as a Liberal or Social Democrat before 1988 and stood as a Social and Liberal Democrat in 1988 or 1989 or as a Liberal Democrat after 1989 in the same Ward is indexed only once, with a comment in the dates list when the party description changed. Pre-1986 Ecology Party and post-1985 Green Party candidates similarly show no difference.

Seats gained by the winning party are defined by reference to the party the retiring councillor supported, even if he or she changed party during a term.

Multiple-vacancy elections

The total and percentage vote figures in multiple-vacancy elections since 1976 are calculated from the number of ballot papers counted, where known. This means that the percentages in such elections up to 1973 and from 1976 are not comparable.

Research and technical details

The information on these pages was collected from first-hand records taken at election counts since 1969 and from sources (mainly the Cambridge Evening News) in the Cambridgeshire collection of the Cambridge Central Library. I acknowledge with thanks the assistance and encouragement of Mike Petty and Chris Jakes of that library over many years.

Colin Rosenstiel

On taking over the maintenance of this site I have reviewed all the HTML code and standardised on Strict XHTML Version 1.0.

Keith Edkins

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