After Rugby and Kenilworth, this was the second least-expected Labour victory in this county in 1997. It had been held by the Conservatives since 1910 and for 34 years was the seat of Tory Prime Minister Anthony Eden.
Industry is mainly light and Automotive Products, making car components, is well known. There is a significant Asian community in Leamington which makes up 5% of the constituency’s population, and many students from nearby Warwick University live in Leamington, geographically closer to the Coventry campus. Nearly half of all households are headed by professionals, managers or technicians.
However, because of all this wealth the impoverishment still visible in parts of Leamington is all the more stark and helps to explain the otherwise unexpected Labour victory in this seat.
In Leamington, major Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) investment, particularly on the old gasworks site, is in the process of transforming the old town area, and SRB money is now being sought for development in impoverished rural parts of the area.