The 1997 general election was the second running in which Labour took all three seats in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside. Also for the second general election running, Stalybridge & Hyde produced the smallest majority of the three.
Stalybridge & Hyde has not been taken from Labour since before the Second World War, although it did undergo a period of marginality during the 1950s when Fred Blackburn won three tight contests, including majorities of 298 in 1951 and 155 in 1955.
This constituency lies right on the eastern outskirts of Manchester, at the foot of the Pennines and even includes some areas of barren moorland. It comprises overspill communities, and retains a number of post-war council estates.
There is a small Asian population, but most residents are white and working class, with only a small proportion in non-manual jobs, indeed Stalybridge & Hyde has a higher percentage of employment in the manufacturing industry than any other seat in the North West.