Posts Tagged ‘Chester’

Campaign frontline: ‘Gentlemen versus players’ on the election campaign’s fiercest frontline

27/05/2017, 07:29:50 PM

In a series of reports from the frontline, Uncut looks at what’s happening on the ground. Kevin Meagher visited City of Chester, to see the campaign in Britain’s most marginal constituency

As you drive in on the A56, the scale of Labour’s task becomes clear. ‘Welcome to Chester – International Heritage City’. This is a seat, it is fair to say, where many of the residents are not short of a bob or two.

Indeed, this is the most marginal constituency in the country, with Labour’s Chris Matheson, a former senior Unite official, holding the seat against Tory expectations in 2015 with a majority of just 93. It requires a swing of just 0.1% to fall to the Tories.

Labour’s Christine Russell first took City of Chester in the 1997 landslide, ousting the colourful Gyles Brandreth in the process. It remains a classic Labour/Tory marginal but has stayed red for two decades.

Synonymous with tourism, high-end retail and Hollyoaks, Chester may be outwardly prosperous it also has its fair share of struggling families too. 

Last year, the West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission found some parts of the borough had a life expectancy gap of a decade and in-work poverty has grown by 40 per cent since 2004.

As I drive down into the city centre there are few election posters to be seen. A sign of the times, perhaps, with online campaigning increasingly coming to dominate elections. Still, all the posters I can see are for Matheson. 


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Party veteran wins nomination for home seat in Chester

08/06/2013, 11:40:55 AM

Chris Matheson was last night selected as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the City of Chester constituency.

A veteran of the North West party board, Matheson works for Unite the union as an industrial officer and lives in the constituency. He based his campaign on combining “local roots and national experience.”

He beat development economist Peter D’Souza into second place, with local councillor Sam Dixon coming third. Matheson won on the third ballot.

In a leaflet distributed in the final few days of campaigning, Matheson outlined his vision of ‘Chester 2020’, promising if elected to galvanise businesses and the local university behind a drive for to improve local skills and bring in new investment.

Although Chester is usually regarded as one of the most affluent boroughs in the North West, the Campaign to End Child Poverty (a collection of anti-poverty groups) found that 17% of children in the City of Chester constituency are currently living in poverty.

Also, the Chester and Ellesmere Port foodbank, set up last November, has recently seen the number of people it helps treble.

Sitting Conservative MP Stephen Moseley has a majority of 2,583.

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