This outer London constituency in the south east is part of Bromley which is the largest London borough in terms of size, and second only in terms of population. Beckenham is tucked into the North West corner of the borough and is the closest of the seats to inner London.
There is a high level of owner occupancy here, which stands at 74.5%. Local Authority housing is low here too, at just under 9%.
The seat was held at the 1997 general election by Piers Merchant, whose majority was cut from 15,000 to just under 5,000. This fall was not surprising given publicity during the campaign that Mr Merchant had been having an affair with a teenager.
This eventually led to his resignation and the seat was retained for the Tories in November 1997 by Jacqui Lait, who had been defeated in May in Hastings and Rye.