A parliamentary borough for three centuries from 1572 until 1918, the Christchurch constituency has an interesting history, including a brief spell as a larger constituency with its neighbouring town Lymington.
The larger constituency was created in 1974 and abolished just nine years later. During that time it remained a conservative stronghold. In 1983 the constituency became Christchurch once again and continued to be a Conservative-dominated district with Robert Adler holding the seat for 10 years before his death in 1993.
However, his death triggered a by-election in 1993, which ended in a shock swing to the Liberal Democrats, who gained 62.2% of the vote.
But by the next election in 1997, Sir Christopher Chope regained this traditional Conservative seat, which he has since held the seat for 22 years.
Despite enjoying a comfortable majority for most of his time as an MP, Sir Christopher has faced calls to resign in recent years following controversy surrounding his votes regarding the ‘Upskirting bill’ and Female Genital Mutilation (or FGM).
This led to a campaign labelled #nopetochope. In an attempt to unseat the Conservative MP, Lorna Rees made 50 chairs and spread them across the constituency with the help hundreds of volunteers.
The controversy caused by this campaign proved too much for the local Conservative Party in Christchurch. Rhys Gadsby, deputy chairman of the Christchurch and East Dorset Conservative Association stepped down from his post, claiming he could not support Chope.
I've made 50 Chairs Against Chope.
It's a multi-part political artwork played out over an entire constituency with 100s of participants.
— Lorna Rees (@thegobbledegook) December 12, 2019
As the Conservatives head towards the election their 2017 majority of 49.7% (25,171 votes) seems an insurmountable challenge for the next nearest contender, Labour’s Andrew Dunne.
As the second smallest constituency in Dorset, Christchurch frequently returns their results early. Yet with the demographics showing the district to have one of the oldest average populations in the country, it seems unlikely that Labour will achieve victory in this election.