Both the seats which created the new constituency of Houghton and Sunderland South, Houghton and Washington East and Sunderland South, were held by Labour. In Sunderland South the 2005 general election returned Chris Mullin MP with a majority of 11,059 votes. Chris Mullin has announced he will be standing down at the next general election. Houghton and Washington East saw the current MP, Labour’s Fraser Kemp, poll a majority of 16,065 in 2005.
At the election, boundary changes mean that both constituencies will disappear at the next general election. The new constituency will gain Copt Hill, Hetton, Houghton, and Shiney Row wards that were formerly solely part of the Houghton and Washington East constituency, and St Chads and Sandhill that were formerly situated in their entirety in Sunderland South. To find out what might have happened had this boundary change been in force at the last election, see a notional – or estimated – result below.
This area, formerly famed for its heavy industry, has undergone dramatic social and economic changes in the recent past and is now reliant on the service industry for much of its employment.
Throughout the 1980s the decline of Britains manufacturing industry affected the North East severely, with many made unemployed as pits, dockyards and heavy industrial yards closed.
Sunderland was particularly badly affected, being at the heart of the coal and shipbuilding industries.
T-Mobile and Northern Electric have both located their call-centres in this seat. This is reflected in the large percentage of this population that works in service industries.