|Former Borough constituency|
for the House of Commons
|Number of members||Two|
|Number of members||One|
|Type of constituency||County constituency|
|Replaced by||Warrington North, St Helens North, Warrington South, Makerfield, Worsley and Leigh|
|Created from||South West Lancashire|
Newton was a parliamentary borough in the county of Lancashire, in England. It was represented by two Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the Parliament of England from 1559 to 1706 then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 until its abolition in 1832.
In 1885 a county constituency with the same name was created and represented by one Member of Parliament. This seat was abolished in 1983.
The borough consisted of the parish of Newton-le-Willows in the Makerfield district of South Lancashire. It was first enfranchised in 1558 (though the Parliament so summoned did not meet until the following year), and was a rotten borough from its inception: Newton was barely more than a village even at this stage, and so entirely dominated by the local landowner that its first return of members described it bluntly as "the borough of Sir Thomas Langton, knight, baron of Newton within his Fee of Markerfylde". By 1831, just before its abolition, the population of the borough had reached only 2,139, and contained 285 houses.
The right to vote was exercised by all freeholders of property in the borough valued at forty shillings or more, or by one representative of joint tenants of any such freeholds; Newton was the only borough where the forty-shilling freehold franchise (which applied in the counties) was the sole qualification to vote. In 1797, the borough's last contested election, 76 electors cast their votes; by 1831 it was estimated that the electorate had fallen to about 52. (As elsewhere, each elector had as many votes as there were seats to be filled and votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings.)
In practice, however, the townsmen of Newton had no say in choosing their representatives: as the owners of the majority of the qualifying freeholds, the lords of the manor exercised total control. During most of the Elizabethan period, Langton seems to have allowed the Duchy of Lancaster to nominate many of the members, which may have been a quid pro quo for Newton's being enfranchised in the first place, but later patrons could regard its parliamentary seats as their personal property. Langton's heir sold the manor to the Fleetwood family in 1594, the sale explicitly including the right of "the nomination, election and appointment" of the two burgesses representing the borough in Parliament, one of the earliest recorded instances of the right to elect MPs being bought and sold. By the first half of the next century it had passed to the Leghs, who owned it for the rest of its existence.
By the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832, Newton was one of the most notorious of all England's pocket boroughs, mainly because the Legh control was more complete than that of the patrons in most other constituencies. It was one of the 56 boroughs to be totally disenfranchised by the Reform Act.
The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 created a new Newton constituency, as one of twenty-three divisions of the parliamentary county of Lancashire.
The constituency, officially designated as South-West Lancashire, Newton Division consisted of a number of townships and parishes around Newton le Willows namely:
The electorate also included the freeholders of the municipal boroughs of St Helens and Warrington who were entitled to vote in the county.
The Representation of the People Act 1918 reorganised constituencies throughout the United Kingdom. Boundaries were adjusted and seats were defined in terms of the districts created by the Local Government Act 1894. According to the schedules of the Act, the Lancashire, Newton Division comprised:
The Representation of the People Act 1948 redistributed parliamentary seats, with the constituencies first being used in the general election of 1950. The term "county constituency" was introduced in place of "division". Newton County Constituency was redefined as consisting of the following districts:
The changes reflected the fact that Leigh Rural District had been abolished in 1933, Newton in Makerfield Urban district had been renamed Newton le Willows in 1939. Irlam was transferred from the neighbouring Stretford constituency.
The boundaries were unchanged at the next redistribution of seats in 1970. Although local government was reorganised in 1972, boundaries were unchanged until 1983.
The constituency was abolished by the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983, which reorganised seats on the lines of the 1974 counties and districts, by which time the Newton constituency had become vastly oversized with an electorate of over 80,000 in 1979. The bulk of the seat formed part of the new Makerfield County Constituency. Irlam was included in the Worsley County Constituency, while part of Golborne became part of both Leigh Borough Constituency and Warrington North Borough Constituency. The town of Newton itself, as well as Haydock, were incorporated into the St Helens North Borough Constituency.
|Parliament||First member||Second member|
|1559 (Jan)||Sir George Howard||Richard Chetwode|
|1562/3||Francis Alford||Ralph Browne|
|1571||Anthony Mildmay||Richard Stoneley|
|1572||John Gresham||John Savile|
|1584||Robert Langton||Edward Savage|
|1586 (Oct)||Robert Langton||Edward Savage|
|1588 (Oct)||Edmund Trafford||Robert Langton|
|1593||Edmund Trafford||Robert Langton|
|1597||William Cope||Geoffrey Osbaldeston|
|1601 (Oct)||Thomas Langton||Richard Ashton|
|1604||Sir John Luke||Richard Ashton |
|1614||William Ashton||Roger Charnock|
|1620/1 (Jan)||Sir George Wright||Richard Kippax|
|1624||Thomas Charnock||Edmund Breres |
|1625||Miles Fleetwood||Sir Henry Edmonds |
|1626||Miles Fleetwood||Sir Henry Edmonds |
|1627/8||Sir Henry Holcroft||Sir Francis Onslow |
|1629–1640||No parliaments summoned|
|1640 (Apr)||Sir Richard Wynn, 2nd Baronet, sat for Andover||William Sherman|
|1640 (Nov)||William Ashurst||Peter Legh, died after duel |
and repl. by Sir Roger Palmer, disabled 1644
and repl. by Peter Brooke
|1645||William Ashurst||Peter Brooke|
|1653–1658||Newton not represented in Barebones and First and Second Protectorate Parliaments|
|1659||William Brereton||Peter Legh|
|Year||First member||First party||Second member||Second party|
|1660||Richard Legh||William Banks|
|April 1661||John Vaughan|
|June 1661||Sir Philip Mainwaring|
|October 1661||The Lord Gorges of Dundalk|
|1679||Sir John Chicheley||Andrew Fountaine|
|1695||Legh Banks||Thomas Brotherton|
|1701||Thomas Legh, junior|
|July 1702||John Grubham Howe|
|December 1702||Thomas Legh|
|1715||Sir Francis Leicester||William Shippen|
|1747||Sir Thomas Egerton|
|1768||Anthony James Keck|
|1774||Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym|
|1780||Thomas Peter Legh||Thomas Davenport, KC|
|September 1797||Thomas Langford Brooke|
|December 1797||Peter Patten|
|1806||Colonel Peter Heron|
|1807||John Ireland Blackburne|
|1825||Sir Robert Townsend-Farquhar|
|1885||constituency re-established with one MP|
|1885||R. A. Cross||Conservative|
|1886 by-election||Thomas Legh||Conservative|
|1899 by-election||Richard Pilkington||Conservative|
|1906||James Andrew Seddon||Labour|
|Feb 1974||John Evans||Labour|
|Conservative||R. A. Cross||4,414||52.3|
|Conservative win (new seat)|
|Conservative||R. A. Cross||4,302||55.2||+2.9|
Cross was appointed Secretary of state for India and was elevated to the peerage, becoming Viscount Cross, causing a by-election.
|Liberal||Daniel O'Connell French||3,355||45.2||+0.4|
Legh is elevated to the peerage, becoming Lord Newton.
|Labour Repr. Cmte.||James Seddon||6,434||52.2||New|
|Labour Repr. Cmte. gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
|Liberal Unionist||Roundell Palmer||6,504||47.3||−0.5|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing||+3.2|
|Labour gain from Unionist||Swing||+5.5|
|C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.|
|Unionist||Henry Baker Bates||8,214||37.1||−7.9|
|Unionist||Henry Baker Bates||8,375||40.1||+3.0|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
|Labour gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Conservative||Herbert W Jones||22,476||41.7||+1.6|
|Conservative||David C Stanley||17,980||30.6||-12.0|
|Liberal||Clifford L Jones||7,919||13.5||New|
|Conservative||Peter H Craig||21,845||37.2||+6.6|
|National Front||A Fishwick||641||0.8||New|