The constituency has switched between the Liberals and the Conservatives since its modern revival in 1832.
J E B Seely, later the 1st Baron Mottistone, was the Tory and then the Liberal MP for this seat, defecting in 1904. After sitting for Ilkeston and for Liverpool Abercromby between 1906 and 1922, he sat again for the Isle of Wight (1923-24). Not only was he war secretary (1912-14), he served in the army through the First World War, leading one of its last cavalry charges. He rejoined the government in 1918.
In 1932 he wrote a book about the history of lifeboats, Launch!, with a cover by the artist Frank Brangwyn. And in For Ever England (also 1932) he wrote: “In this book I attempt to show the essential nobility of the English character especially its refusal at desperate moments ever to despair.”