Walthamstow was won by Labour from the Conservatives in 1992 with a majority of 3,000 votes and was held by Neil Gerrard in 1997 with one of 17,000 votes.
Past Conservative success here came when the seat was divided into two seats - West and East. In two by-elections caused by the deaths of both Labour members during Harold Wilsonís 1966-70 government, Walthamstow West, the seat of the late Labour Party leader and post war Prime Minister Clement Attlee, was lost to the Tories in 1967, and Walthamstow East in 1969. Eric Deakins regained West for Labour in the 1970 General Election, and then following the amalgamation of the two seats in 1974 brought the entire area back into the Labour fold.
Walthamstow boasts the longest daily street market in Europe, and a popular greyhound racing track. William Morris, famous for his designs, poetry and politics, was born here in 1834. The British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli was educated locally and the film director Ken Russell attended college in Walthamstow.
More recently, the postcode for the district became famous thanks to the pop group East 17 who hailed from here.