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Results & Constituencies
 
 Bishop Auckland
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Derek Foster Labour 22,680 58.8 -7.1
Fiona McNish Conservative 8,754 22.7 +2.5
Chris Foote Wood Liberal Democrat 6,073 15.7 +6.4
Carl Bennett Green 1,052 2.7  
Majority 13,926 36.1
Turnout 38,559 57.2 -11.2
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 4.8% from Labour to Conservative

Description
This is a primarily rural seat in the south-west of County Durham. Outside the town of Bishop Auckland, the seatís two chief industries remain farming and tourism. In the town, heavy industry is dominant but declining.

The Conservative Party has traditionally found a measure of support in the beautiful countryside surrounding Barnard Castle, Teesdale, Startforth and the Wear Valley. Its candidates have traditionally polled around 18,000 votes in elections prior to 1997, comfortably higher than almost every other Durham constituency.

However, these efforts have not yet been enough to prise out Labour who have held the seat since 1935 and the days of local MP Hugh Dalton, chancellor of the exchequer in the Atlee government after the war.

This diverse, wedge-shaped seat, which is home to the Bishop of Durham, a Glaxo-Wellcome factory and the reservoirs of Northumbrian Water, has returned its MP Derek Foster in each of the past four elections.

Mr Foster proved to be one of Tony Blairís shortest-lived ministerial appointments, quitting after just three days in May 1997. He said the prime minister had failed to honour a promise to give him a cabinet post after he vacated the chief whips job two years previously.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Bishop Auckland
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Derek Foster Labour 30,359 65.9
Josephine Fergus Conservative 9,295 20.2
Les Ashworth Liberal Democrat 4,293 9.3
David Blacker Referendum 2,104 4.6
Majority 21,064 45.7
Turnout 46,051 68.4
 
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