THE Green Party has announced it will not put up a candidate in Chester at the General Election on June 8.

Instead it is urging its supporters to vote for Labour’s Chris Matheson in a bid to stop the Conservatives from winning in the city.

Mr Matheson was elected in 2015 with a majority of just 93 – one of the slimmest in the country and the reason why Chester is seen as a key election battleground.

Responding to the news, he said: “I warmly welcome this decision by Cheshire West and Chester Green Party.

“I would like to thank Colin Watson and his team for working hard to reach this difficult decision. I look forward to working with them to make our shared vision for Chester happen.”

It was understood that Mat Roberts had been selected as a candidate for the Greens, but a statement made the position clear.

Colin Watson, chair of CWaC Green Party, said: “The situation in the City of Chester is unique due to the threat from fracking in the area, which the Tory Party is pushing hard.

“Chris Matheson has an excellent track record in fighting the proposed fracking in the Chester area.

“We look forward to working with Chris over the next parliament to drive our sustainability agenda both nationally and here in Chester.”

In a statement, Conservative candidate Will Gallagher said: “There hasn’t even been a vote cast yet in the General Election, but already we see the coalition of chaos coming together to thwart Theresa May’s plan to make a success of Brexit.

“Across the country – and seemingly now here in Chester – opposition parties are involved in grubby deals to try and make Jeremy Corbyn our prime minister.

“But voters in Chester won’t be fooled. People right across the city are telling me that they want to continue with the strong and stable leadership that Theresa May is providing. That’s what a vote for me and the Conservatives will deliver on June 8.”