The Selby and Ainsty constituency is a seat which came into being at the 2010 general election. It is a largely rural North Yorkshire parliamentary seat between York, Wetherby, Harrogate and Pontefract.
The Selby and Ainsty parliamentary boundary includes the entire district of Selby including Tadcaster and Sherburn in Elmet. Also included is a swathe of countryside from the former Vale of York constituency. This area is made up of four wards from Harrogate Borough and forms the Ainsty element of the seat. The four wards are Marston Moor, Ouseburn, Ribston and Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale. Ainsty is not a village or town but an historic wapentake covering an area to the west of York. It is bounded by three rivers: the Nidd to the north; the Ouse to the west and the Wharfe to the south. Some villages from the rural fringes of York itself in the former Selby constituency moved into the York Outer constituency at the last election.
Selby was traditionally a shipbuilding town on the Ouse, but its economy is now largely based on agriculture, power generation, tourism to the Abbey and as a commuter town for York and Leeds. The Selby coal mining complex, opened in the late 70’s, was closed in 2004. There are two coal-fired power stations in the constituency at Drax and Eggborough. Drax being the largest in Europe and responsible for approximately 12% of the nation’s electricity demand. Both power stations are committed to converting most of their power production away from coal to sustainably produced biomass.
The second largest town in the seat is Tadcaster, a town associated with the brewing industry which retains three breweries owned by Coors, Heineken and Samuel Smith's Old Brewery.
Selby is acknowledged as being the birthplace of King Henry I, son of William the Conqueror in 1068. He was also known as Beauclerc for his scholarly interests and succeeded to the throne after the death of his brother, King William II in 1100.
Selby and Ainsty is infamous for being the site of two of England’s bloodiest battles. The Battle of Towton in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses was the largest and bloodiest ever fought on British soil, with casualties believed to have been about 28,000. It took place on a plateau between the villages of Towton and Saxton just south of Tadcaster. The Battle of Marston Moor was fought in 1644 during the First English Civil War. The combined forces of the Scottish Covenanters under the Earl of Leven and the Parliamentarians under Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester defeated the Royalists.