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Results & Constituencies
 
 Bolton West
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Ruth Kelly Labour 19,381 47.0 -2.5
James Stevens Conservative 13,863 33.6 -1.5
Barbara Ronson Liberal Democrat 7,573 18.4 +7.6
David Toomer Socialist Alliance 397 1.0  
Majority 5,518 13.4
Turnout 41,214 62.4 -14.9
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 0.5% from Labour to Conservative

Description
This seat includes little territory from the town of Bolton. Instead, it covers the suburban and rural land between Bolton and Wigan which is home to many commuters. Most workers are employed in non-manual fields and Bolton West has the lowest unemployment levels of the three Bolton constituencies.

Hardly any of Bolton’s industry is found in this seat. However, there are examples of the mansions built by those who became rich through textiles during the 19th century, such as Smithills Hall. Traditionally a closely-fought marginal, Bolton West is something of a “weather vane” seat that usually falls to the party that forms the new government.

Labour went into the 1997 general election aiming to take all three Bolton seats for the first time since 1979. The party already held the Bolton North East and South East constituencies but West, not held by Labour since 1983, seemed likely to cause a problem. In the end the contest wasn’t even close. A 11.3% swing to Labour’s Ruth Kelly gave her a large majority of 7,072 for what is normally such a tightly-contested seat. The new MP added a new dimension to the term "Blair babe" by giving birth 11 days after the election.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Bolton West
Labour gain from Conservative
Name Party Votes %
Ruth Kelly Labour 24,342 49.5
Tom Sackville Conservative 17,270 35.1
Barbara Ronson Liberal Democrat 5,309 10.8
Doris Kelly Socialist Labour 1,374 2.8
Glenda Frankl-Slater Referendum 865 1.8
Majority 7,072 14.4
Turnout 49,160 77.3
 
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