Representing rurality? New Labour and the electoral geography of rural Britain
The first Blair administration faced clamorous criticism from some lobby groups for its handling of rural issues. Yet Labour has presented itself as a ‘one–nation’ party representing both urban and rural areas. This paper examines the basis of recent claims about the parliamentary representation of rural Britain, and analyzes the results of the last two General Elections. It illustrates how the malleability of the category of ‘rural’ allows for contrasting claims about rural representation, and highlights the continuity of party representation among those constituencies located outside the main urban areas in the 1997 and 2001 parliaments, despite regular rural protest.