Between 1970 and 2019, the constituency was represented by Labour's Dennis Skinner, who by 2019 was the oldest member of the House of Commons and the second longest-serving. At the constituency's inception it was one of the safest Labour seats in the country, but over the following half century Skinner's vote share dropped from 77% in 1970, still holding a high vote share of 65% in 2005, to only 36% in 2019, with the result that he lost the seat to the Conservatives by a margin of 11%.
The seat includes many former mining communities. Before 2019 it was a Labour Party stronghold, although the then MP Dennis Skinner's share of the popular vote dropped to 50% in the 2010 election from a high of 77.5% (see below), amongst social and boundary changes. Its economy faced struggles after the last closures in the early 1990s of the coal pits upon which the area thrived for many years. Bolsover's tourism industry has emerged in recent years, including accommodation and tours involving Bolsover Castle, owned by English Heritage, and Hardwick Hall, home of Bess of Hardwick.
Skinner, who held the seat from 1970 until 2019, is a former miner whose fast wit and often abrasive manner in the House of Commons led to him being dubbed "The Beast of Bolsover". In the 2010 general election, Skinner received exactly 50% of the vote - 21,994 of the 43,988 votes cast. At the 2017 general election, Skinner's majority was cut to little more than 5,000, the first time the Labour majority in the seat had ever been lower than 10,000. He failed to be re-elected in 2019, missing out on becoming the Father of the House after the retirement of Kenneth Clarke. However, Skinner had earlier said that he would refuse the title anyway.