The town of Rutherglen is the oldest royal burgh in Scotland, and 500 years older than the royal burgh of Glasgow. It was traditionally a Conservative seat, and has always striven to maintain some autonomy since it was absorbed by Glasgow in the 1970s. However, the changes in the 1970s led the Westminster constituency to be mostly made up of vast council estates south-east of the Glasgow city centre and it became a Labour safe seat. At its northern border it blends into Glasgow's suburbs and the vast Castlemilk housing scheme. The seat includes not only Rutherglen itself but also the town of Cambuslang, and the housing scheme at Fernhill and Whitlawburn. Steel and pottery have been major industries in the past, but both have been in decline over the last 30 years. Although now mostly outside Glasgow local government area, the constituency was still seen as a safe Labour seat. There were no surprises in the 1999 elections, which saw Janis Hughes win the seat with a majority of 25% of the vote.