Wakefield was anciently a market and parish town in the Agbrigg division of the wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It became a parliamentary borough with one Member of Parliament after the Reform Act 1832. In 1836 the Wakefield Poor Law Union was formed following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 with an elected Board of Guardians. The town was incorporated as a municipal borough with elected councillors in 1848 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. Wakefield was the de facto seat of regional government in Yorkshire for two centuries and became the county headquarters of the West Riding County Council created by the Local Government Act of 1888. After Wakefield was elevated to diocese in 1888, Wakefield Council sought city status which was granted the same year. Wakefield became a county borough in 1913. In 1974, under the terms of the Local Government Act 1972, the county borough became defunct as it merged with surrounding local authorities to become the City of Wakefield district. Today the city is the headquarters of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Local Government Yorkshire and Humber and the West Yorkshire Police.
Wakefield is covered by five electoral wards, Wakefield East, Wakefield North, Wakefield Rural, Wakefield South and Wakefield West, of the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Each ward elects three councillors to the 63-member metropolitan district council, Wakefield's local authority. As of 2009, nine ward councillors are members of the Conservative Party and six ward councillors are members of the Labour Party who control the council.
Wakefield's MP is Mary Creagh who has represented the parliamentary seat for the Labour Party since the 2005 General Election. From 10 June 2009 until the 2010 election she was an Assistant Whip. She was re-elected in 2010 with a reduced majority.
Sandal, Kettlethorpe, Agbrigg and Belle Vue in the south of the city are represented by Labour's Jon Trickett who has been MP for Hemsworth since 1996. He was re-elected in May 2010.
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