Saffron Walden is a beautiful rural constituency in north-west Essex consisting of arable land, small villages and market towns. With an area of almost 400 square miles, it is also the largest in the county with borders to Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
The main settlements are the eponymous Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow, Stansted, Thaxted and Writtle. Each holds rich histories, made evident by detailed pargeted houses, Tudor-era wooden beamed pubs, old castles and windmills which still spin their sails. These are still regarded as some of the finest, most quintessential medieval towns in England with wonderful independent stores and home to an array of traditional crafts.
The constituency is also dynamic in the modern era, offering great opportunities due to its important transport links. The M11 motorway runs north-south at its western end, almost parallel to the West Anglia Main Line servicing the popular London-Cambridge corridor. Stansted Airport is the single largest employer, London's third airport and the fastest growing in the country.
Saffron Walden is, quite literally, only an hour away from both London and Europe.
Until recently, the Member of Parliament was The Rt. Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst, who stood down at the snap 2017 General Election after 40 years service. Sir Alan was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Secretary, Mark Carlisle, in 1979 and eventually rose to the position of Deputy Speaker in 1997. Knighted in 1995 and sworn of the Privy Council in 1999, Sir Alan went on to hold a number of positions which contributed to the public good, such as Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Before then, Saffron Walden was represented by Sir Peter Kirk who became a junior Minister as Under-Secretary of State for War in 1963, later becoming Under-Secretary for Defence for the Royal Navy in 1970. Sir Peter led the first Conservative delegation to the European Parliament in 1973 and was knighted in 1976.
The constituency was also home to Rab Butler, known as the 'best Prime Minister we never had', for thirty-six years. His most notable achievement was the 1944 Butler Act which introduced free secondary schooling when Education Secretary. RAB went on to hold three of the Great Offices of State: Chancellor, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary and was universally popular across the country. He also became the Conservative's philosopher-king as Director of the Research Department and guided many of the post-war policies introduced to help Britain recover after the Second World War.