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Results & Constituencies
 
 Barnsley Central
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Eric Illsley Labour 19,181 69.6 -7.4
Alan Hartley Liberal Democrat 4,051 14.7 +5.2
Ian McCord Conservative 3,608 13.1 +3.3
Henry Rajch Socialist Alliance 703 2.6  
Majority 15,130 54.9
Turnout 27,543 45.8 -13.9
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 6.3% from Labour to Liberal Democrat
Lab-Con (against 1997) 5.3% from Labour to Conservative

Description
South Yorkshire has traditionally been one of Labour's safest counties, and Barnsley Central one of its safest seats. Eric Illsey, MP here since 1987, boosted his already substantial 1992 majority of 19,361 to a huge 24,501 in 1997, 67.2% of the vote.

Barnsley provides a stereotypical image of a gritty northern town, wracked with economic and social problems following the collapse of its primary industry. The NUM headquarters are situated here, and the surrounding countryside still bears the scars that the mining industry has left behind.

Barnsley grew up on the back of the mining and glass industries, and though the former has declined to the point of extinction, some diversification has softened the blow. Large employers in the town include Lyons, Slazenger and a leading carpet manufacturer and the council continues to do all it can to promote the growth of hi-tech industries.

Despite these efforts, unemployment remains chronically high and the seat has to contend with numerous other social problems, such as levels of long-term illness which are some 50% above the national average - a legacy of Barnsley Central's coal mining days.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Barnsley Central
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Eric Illsley Labour 28,090 77.0
Simon Gutteridge Conservative 3,589 9.8
Darren Finlay Liberal Democrat 3,481 9.5
James Walsh Referendum 1,325 3.6
Majority 24,501 67.2
Turnout 36,485 59.7
 
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