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Results & Constituencies
 
 Ashfield
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Geoff Hoon Labour 22,875 58.1 -7.1
Julian Leigh Conservative 9,607 24.4 +4.1
Bill Smith Liberal Democrat 4,428 11.3 +1.7
Charlie Harby Independent 1,471 3.7  
George Watson Socialist Alliance 589 1.5  
Katrina Howse Socialist Labour 380 1.0  
Majority 13,268 33.7
Turnout 39,350 53.6 -16.4
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 5.6% from Labour to Conservative

Description
A Labour seat since its creation in 1955, with only a momentary lapse in 1977 when the Conservative Tim Smith took the seat in a by-election.

The constituency lies to the north west of Nottingham and its main towns are Sutton-in-Ashfield, Kirby-in-Ashfield, Hucknall and Eastwood (the birthplace of DH Lawrence). The main rural areas are Selston, Jacksdale and Underwood.

Ashfield has always been associated with moderation rather than militancy. Most Nottinghamshire miners did not support Arthur Scargill and the NUMís call to strike in 1984, claiming that the strike was unconstitutional and continued to work. They founded their own breakaway union, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers.

In the following 1987 General Election the Conservatives increased their vote in Ashfield by 3% on a swing of 1.9% from Labour to the Conservatives. There were similar swings in neighbouring mining constituencies.

But sympathy with Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives ran short when not long their pits were also shut. Closures continued over the years, with the vast majority having met their fate by early 1994 when the coal industry was privatised.

Following the decline of the mining industry, the textiles industry increased in importance. However Coats-Vyella has recently closed some of its factories in Ashfield leading to the loss of several hundred jobs. Kodak, Rolls Royce and Pretty Polly all have factories in Ashfield.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Ashfield
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Geoff Hoon Labour 32,979 65.2
Mark Simmonds Conservative 10,251 20.3
Bill Smith Liberal Democrat 4,882 9.6
Martin Betts Referendum 1,896 3.7
Steven Belshaw BNP 595 1.2
Majority 22,728 44.9
Turnout 50,603 70.0
 
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