Election 97


Yorkshire 92 Yorkshire 97
The strong north/south divide in Yorkshire held for this election, with the Labour strengthening its grip on the urban west and south, dominated by the urban concentrations of Sheffield, Leeds and Hull, while most of the rural Tory redoubts in North Yorkshire stayed true to their traditional allegiances.

Unlike 1992, however, the region proved to be no disappointment for Labour, who picked up every one of their expected gains, with the unexpected bonuses of Scarborough and Whitby, and Selby in North Yorkshire. The Lib Dems gained the unexpected prize of Harrogate and Knaresborough with an extraordinary local swing of 18 per cent to them, defying the national average, and a clear example of tactical voting (the Labour vote actually declined by 5 per cent). Around Humberside, the Labour target seats of Brigg and Goole and Cleethorpes fell easily to them.

There was no consolation whatsoever for the Tories to the South and West - they were wiped out. Labour took all their target seats of Batley and Spen, Calder Valley, Elmet, Keighley, and Leeds North East, plus the less-expected gains of Colne Valley, Leeds NW, Pudsey and Shipley. The Lib Dem gain of their target seat at Sheffield Hallam, like Harrogate showing an extraordinary tactical anti-Tory swing (20 per cent to Lib Dem), completed the massacre. Yorkshire's major cities now return no Tories to the Commons.