The Bishop Auckland constituency has, in various incarnations, been contested since 1885, when the seat was won by the Liberal candidate, James Mellor Paulton.
In 1918, Methodist preacher Ben Spoor became the first Labour MP for Bishop Auckland and, with the exception of the 1931-1935 National Government, the electors of Bishop Auckland have returned a Labour candidate ever since.
Bishop Auckland’s most famous MP is perhaps Hugh Dalton (left), who held the seat from 1929-1931 and 1935-1959, and was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Atlee Government from 1945-47.
As Party Secretary, Party Chairman and (on no fewer than three occasions) Party Leader, Henderson helped shape the nascent Labour Party into a national movement, and went on to become Labour’s first Cabinet Minister, their first Home Secretary, and perhaps their most revered Foreign Secretary.
Henderson also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934 for his attempts to efforts to bring bring peace on the backdrop of growing German and Japanese militarism. You can read more about Arthur Henderson here.
Since Hugh Dalton’s election in 1935, the Bishop Auckland constituency has been remarkably stable, with only four different MPs being elected in 70 years: Dalton, James Boyden (1959-1979), Derek Foster (1979-2005) and Helen Goodman (2005-present).
Derek Foster (now Lord Foster of Bishop Auckland, pictured right) is Bishop Auckland’s longest serving MP, having held the seat for 26 years. Lord Foster was Labour’s Chief Whip from 1985-1995, and became a Life Peer in 2005.
When Helen was elected in 2005 she followed in the footsteps of Ruth Dalton as the second woman to represent Bishop Auckland. Ruth Dalton was elected in February 1929 following the death of Ben Spoor and served for just 92 days (thereby becoming the shortest-serving female MP in British history) before her husband, Hugh, replaced her in the May election.
In the 2005 election, Helen was elected with a majority of 10,047, having won 50.0% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats improved on their third place in 2001 to come second with 23.7% of the vote, the Conservatives were third (22.9%) and UKIP came fourth (3.4%)
Helen retained her seat in 2010 with a majority of 5,218. The Conservatives came second, beating the Lib Dem, the BNP, an independent Liberal and the UKIP candidate into third, fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively.
To read more about recent election results for the Bishop please click here