In 1997 this was one of the three Conservative seats in Cornwall which changed hands.
The constituency inspired many of the novels of Daphne Du Maurier who lived at Par near Fowey. It includes a large part of the south Cornish coast, running from Fowey in the west through the old fishing village of Polperro (now a major tourist attraction) to the fishing port and resort of Looe and, in the Tamar estuary, the more industrial towns of Torpoint and Saltash.
At the centre of the constituency is the main administrative centre of Liskeard where Caradon District council has its headquarters. Here there is also some light industrial development, as there is at Callington further to the east - but the main industries are tourism, agriculture and fishing.
There are some defence-related jobs in Torpoint which are part of Plymouth's defence industry. Up to a third of the working population works in Plymouth and, combined with the decline of indigenous industries, the whole area is very reliant on the health of the city's economy.
The constituency is home to the glass domes of The Eden Project which is a Millennium Commission-funded assembly of biomes, or conservatories which recreates some of the world’s most threatened environments. The largest contains the second biggest open space of any building, beaten only by the launch centre at Cape Canaveral.