Louise Ellman won this inner city constituency in the 1997 General Election with 70.4% of the vote. At the heart of Liverpool, the constituency stretches along the diverse areas of active, decayed and redeveloped dockland from the Bootle boundary right up to more affluent Aigburth. Riverside can also boast the city’s two cathedrals, the Liverpool mosque and the historic Prince’s Road synagogue, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
In November 2000 this seat was identified as the second poorest area of the country and the one suffering the worst ill health. The northern wards - Vauxhall and Everton - almost exclusively white - suffer from some of worst unemployment and housing conditions in the city. Much housing here has been demolished, leaving huge open spaces a couple of miles from the city centre. In the postal district of Liverpool 8, south of the city centre, the constituency includes Toxteth, the scene of race riots in 1981.
Meanwhile, exclusions, even of primary school children, are commonplace and youth provision is patchy in the area. This has led to high youth and long term unemployment, poor skills and many of the social problems associated with them.