Cheltenham gained its own parliamentary representative in the Great Reform Act of 1832.
Before 1832, Cheltenham was represented by MPs representing the whole county of Gloucestershire, dating back to the 13th century knights of the shire.
Since then, the town has elected 20 people as its Member of Parliament. So far, it has been represented by nine Liberals (or ‘Whigs’ in the early days and today Liberal Democrats), ten Conservatives (occasionally called Unionists) and one independent. Liberal Democrat Martin Horwood was Cheltenham's MP from 2005 to 2015 and he has researched his predecessors extensively but always welcomes new material and information.
Martin's 18 predecessors were:
- The Honourable Craven Berkeley (Whig) 1832-47, 1848, 1852-55
- Sir Willoughby Jones (Conservative) 1847-48
- Grenville Berkeley (Whig) 1848-52, 1855-56
- Colonel Francis Berkeley (Whig/Liberal) 1856-65
- Charles Schreiber (Conservative) 1865-68
- Henry Samuelson (Liberal) 1868-74
- James Agg-Gardner (Conservative/Unionist) 1874-80, 1885-95, 1900-06, 1911-1928
- Baron de Ferrières (Liberal) 1880-85
- Colonel FS Russell (Unionist/Conservative) 1895-1900
- John Sears (Liberal) 1906-10
- Vere Ponsonby, Lord Duncannon (Unionist/Conservative) 1910
- Richard Mathias (Liberal) 1910-11
- Sir Walter Preston (Conservative) 1928-37
- Daniel Lipson (independent) 1937-50
- Major Bill Hicks Beach (Conservative) 1950-64
- Douglas Dodds-Parker (Conservative) 1964-74
- Charles Irving (Conservative) 1974-92
- Nigel Jones (Liberal Democrat) 1992-2005