A UNION leader has been chosen as Labour’s man to fight the 2015 General Election in Chester.

More than 160 Labour Party members gathered at All Saints Parish Church in Hoole where they picked Unite official Chris Matheson from a panel of five candidates.

With postal votes added, nearly 250 of the 450 Labour members in Chester opted for Mr Matheson, who lives in Hewitt Street, Hoole, ahead of runner-up Peter de Souza, a Stockport-based economist, and Cheshire West and Chester Council Labour group deputy leader Samantha Dixon, who represents the city centre and lives in Upton.

The other candidates were Gareth Gould from Ellesmere Port and Patricia O’Brien from Liverpool.

Mr Matheson is hoping to take back a seat held by Christine Russell for Labour for 13 years until 2010 when Stephen Mosley enjoyed a 2,583 majority. Up until Mrs Russell’s victory Chester had been a safe Tory seat for decades.

Chris Matheson, Labour’s candidate in the City of Chester constituency, said: “I am thrilled to have been selected as the Labour candidate to be Chester’s next MP and would like to thank the Labour Party members.

“I have seen how the Tories are letting down Chester. People are worrying about their future and their children’s future. I want to make sure the opportunities are there and would work hard to get the economy back on track.

“I look forward to meeting more people of Chester on the doorstep and listening to their views. I’ll always do what is best for Chester.”

Mrs Russell said: “We have an fantastic candidate in Chris who will work hard for the people of Chester.

“You don’t have to look hard to see how the Tories are letting places like Chester down.

“Chris is a candidate who can win the election in Chester and make sure our voice gets heard in Westminster.”

Mr Matheson was brought up in rural Cheshire. He is married to Katherine and they have two children, both at school in Chester.

He was educated at the London School of Economics where he earned a degree in economics and politics. He previously worked in the electricity industry and is now employed by the Unite trade union and has worked with some of the biggest employers in the Chester area to secure jobs and investment.