Comprising the 51 parliamentary constituencies in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire together with the unitary authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, South Gloucestershire, Torbay and Swindon, and the Isles of Scilly.
At the 1997 general election the Conservatives won 22 seats, Labour 15 and the Liberal Democrats 14.
The South West has developed its own style of party competition. Here Labour came third in the popular vote in 1992, 1994 and 1997, with the challenge to the Tories coming from the Liberal Democrats.
Of course Labour has its own urban strongholds, but outside the cities the party often plays a minor role. The swing from Conservative to Labour at the 1997 general election was below average at 9%.
The Liberal Democrats 'broke through' in the region by winning their first ever European Parliament seats, despite the handicap of the electoral system, in 1994.