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Results & Constituencies
 
 Devon West & Torridge
Other Liberal Democrat hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
John Burnett Liberal Democrat 23,474 42.2 +0.4
Geoffrey Cox Conservative 22,280 40.0 +1.5
David Brenton Labour 5,959 10.7 -1.7
Bob Edwards UK Independence 2,674 4.8 +1.7
Martin Quinn Green 1,297 2.3  
Majority 1,194 2.1
Turnout 55,684 70.5 -7.4
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 0.6% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Lab-Con (against 1997) 1.6% from Labour to Conservative

Description
One of the largest seats in England, Devon West and Torridge stretches from Hartland Point as far west as the extremities of Dartmoor, and inland as far as Chagford, but it is sparsely populated.

It is predominately an agricultural community, specialising in dairy farming, with a large fishing and forestry industry. Correspondingly the local farming economy suffered a blow in the wake of the BSE/CJD scare as stock prices plummeted. This was followed by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The tourist industry is increasing but is concentrated on the coast. There is a large rural community, with a few market towns such as Okehampton, Holsworthy and Torrington.

It has one of the least ethnically diverse constituencies with a huge 99.6% white population. Some 35% are employed in managerial professions, with the next highest percentage being skilled manual at 29%; and 79% of households are owner occupied.

Tenth on the Liberal Democrats' target list before the 1997 election, their 41.8% of the vote narrowly won the seat. John Burnett, a farmer from the area, was returned with a majority of just 1,957, or 3.3%. Emma Nicholson, who previously held the seat, had defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats at the end of 1995.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Devon West & Torridge
Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative
Name Party Votes %
John Burnett Liberal Democrat 24,744 41.8
Ian Liddell-Grainger Conservative 22,787 38.5
David Brenton Labour 7,319 12.4
Roger Lea Referendum 1,946 3.3
Matthew Jackson UK Independence 1,841 3.1
Michael Pithouse Liberal Party 508 0.9
Majority 1,957 3.3
Turnout 59,145 77.9
 
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