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Results & Constituencies
 
 Devon North
Other Liberal Democrat hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Nicholas Harvey Liberal Democrat 21,784 44.2 -6.6
Clive Allen Conservative 18,800 38.2 -1.3
Vivian Gale Labour 4,995 10.1 +0.3
Roger Knapman UK Independence 2,484 5.0  
Tony Bown Green 1,191 2.4  
Majority 2,984 6.1
Turnout 49,254 68.3 -9.4
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 2.6% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Lab-Con (against 1997) 0.8% from Conservative to Labour

Description
This was the seat of the former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe - there used to be unofficial electoral signs erected by the roadsides at the borders of the constituency which read "You are now entering Liberal country".

After his career was ended in scandal, the North Devon electorate decisively rejected their MP of 20 years at the next election. The Tory Tony Speller romped home in 1979 with a majority of 8,000, and it was not until 1992 that the seat returned a Liberal (Democrat) MP, Nick Harvey, who has held it ever since.

The seat has a long standing radical tradition. It was held by Richard Acland as a Liberal and then a Common Wealth MP from 1935 to 1945. Mr Thorpe won the seat from the Conservatives at the 1959 General Election, one of only six victories anywhere in the country that year for the Liberals.

The seat is dependent on both agriculture and tourism though there is a surprising amount of industry in Barnstaple. The main holiday resort is Ilfracombe, which has been hit by both unemployment and economic decline. There is also concern over the state of the beaches along the north Devon coastline.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Devon North
Liberal Democrat hold
Name Party Votes %
Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat 27,824 50.8
Richard Ashworth Conservative 21,643 39.5
Annie Brenton Labour 5,347 9.8
Majority 6,181 11.3
Turnout 54,814 77.7
 
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