Stoke-on-Trent South was the parliamentary home of Jack Ashley, the veteran campaigner for the rights of the disabled, for 26 years.
As with all the Potteries seats it has a background of heavy industry - dominated by ceramics but augmented in the South constituency by coalmining and tyre-making - which has made it traditionally fertile ground for Labour.
Nonetheless, Stoke-on-Trent South is the only one of the city’s three seats where the Conservatives can presently claim to have a credible foothold, a fact almost entirely due to the more affluent ward of Trentham Park, tucked away in the south west. Even this bastion was lost to the Tories in the local elections of 1995, but has since been reclaimed.
The present incumbent, former MEP (and himself a former Pottery worker) George Stevenson, got off to what passes in Stoke South for a shaky start in 1992 when he managed a majority of just under 7,000. This was generally attributed to disappointment at Mr Ashley’s retirement, but Stevenson recovered with a 13% swing and a near 40% majority in 1997.