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Results & Constituencies
 
 Durham North West
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Hilary Armstrong Labour 24,526 62.5 -6.3
William Clouston Conservative 8,193 20.9 +5.6
Alan Ord Liberal Democrat 5,846 14.9 +4.1
Joan Hartnell Socialist Labour 661 1.7  
Majority 16,333 41.6
Turnout 39,226 58.5 -10.2
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 5.9% from Labour to Conservative

Description
When the town of Consett was brought into the constituency of Durham North West in 1983, many predicted a gloomy economic future for the seat. However, despite the alignment of the seatís many hard-hit pit villages with Consett, shattered by the closure of its steelworks in the early 1980s, Durham North West has managed a degree of economic recovery, although unemployment remains high.

Durham North West is something of a rarity; a seat with a low density of population and a large acreage which has a tradition of voting Labour. The isolated and fiercely working class pit villages dotted around the hills and moors of the upper Wear valley have received some respite from industrial development agencies as has Consett, which is now picking itself up after nearly every male worker living there lost his job following the closure of the steelworks.

The landscape beyond the population centres remains starkly beautiful and locals are becoming increasingly aware of tourism as an important new industry for the seat.

Local Government Minister Hilary Armstrong first won the seat in 1987, taking over from her late father, Ernie Armstrong, who had held it since 1964.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Durham North West
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Hilary Armstrong Labour 31,855 68.8
Louise St John Howe Conservative 7,101 15.3
Anthony Thomas Gillings Liberal Democrat 4,991 10.8
Rodney Atkinson Referendum 2,372 5.1
Majority 24,754 53.4
Turnout 46,319 68.7
 
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