This constituency is based on the declining Leicestershire coalfield around Coalville. Despite being based on an old mining community this seat, which is a mix of urban and rural, was held by the Conservative David Ashby from 1983 to 1997.
There is a fairly even split between manual and non-manual workers in the constituency which may explain in some part the former strength of the Conservatives here. According to the 1991 census, over a third of households are headed by skilled manual workers and these are likely to be people from traditional Labour-voting backgrounds who switched to the Tories in the 1980s but drifted back to Labour post-Thatcher. The seat was a top target seat for Labour in 1997 and was won with a huge margin by David Taylor.
The Tories will be fighting hard to throw this creeping reassertion of Labour hegemony off course here. They did little, however, to dent Labourís control of North West Leicestershire District Council (coterminous with the parliamentary constituency) in the 1999 local elections.