This has in the past been a safe Labour seat, though Hackney council, based in this constituency, is no longer controlled by Labour and had numerous column inches devoted to its cash-flow crisis in the latter half of 2000.
Statistically, it is the fourth most deprived borough in England, with unemployment running at 14% - over twice the London average. Its 5,000 acres boast a cultural richness derived from a series of communities speaking 40 languages, which belies the underlying poverty of many citizens and the financial chaos in the town hall.
Although dogged by financial troubles, the council has been implementing a regeneration programme and has demolished 15 tower blocks to replace them with more traditional homes.
In contrast with the rest of the seat is De Beauvoir town. On the border with Islington, it consists of town houses and villas in quiet squares and tree-lined streets. The Tories are quite competitive in this area where they won two local by-elections in the early 1990s.
There are hopes that transport links will be improved in the constituency, including an extension of the East London Line to link Hackney with the City and London Underground for the first time.