The parliamentary borough of Bury St Edmunds was created in 1614, returning two MPs to the House of Commons of England until 1707, then to the House of Commons of Great Britain until 1800, and from 1800 to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Its representation was reduced to one seat under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, and the borough was abolished for the 1918 Kingdom general election, when it was replaced by the county division of the same name.

The constituency contains the towns of Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market. Its boundaries do not match those of St Edmundsbury borough, which includes Haverhill (part of West Suffolk constituency), and excludes Stowmarket and Needham Market.

Following their review of parliamentary representation in Suffolk the Boundary Commission for England has recommended minor alterations to the existing constituency arrangement. The electoral wards used in the creation of this seat are:

From the district of Mid Suffolk: Bacton and Old Newton, Badwell Ash, Elmswell and Norton, Gislingham, Haughley and Wetherden, Needham Market, Onehouse, Rattlesden, Rickinghall and Walsham, Ringshall, Stowmarket Central, Stowmarket North, Stowmarket South, Stowupland, Thurston and Hessett, and Woolpit.

From the district of St Edmundsbury: Abbeygate, Eastgate, Fornham, Great Barton, Horringer and Whelnetham, Minden, Moreton Hall, Northgate, Pakenham, Risbygate, Rougham, St Olaves, Southgate, and Westgate.