The Conservatives have hit back at the anti-fracking protesters behind an ambush of parliamentary candidate Will Gallagher in Chester.

Upton residents and members of Frack Free Upton and Dee held a demonstration to greet former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling during his tour of the city on Thursday.

One protester, Brenda Southward, even manoeuvred her mobility scooter in front of Mr Grayling’s car to prevent him making a quick getaway.

However, a Conservative spokesman told the Leader: “We believe this protest was not about fracking and was purely a political stunt.”

Around 50 residents attended with signs and placards but Mr Grayling and Mr Gallagher reportedly refused to speak to them.

“I was absolutely blown away when I heard Grayling was due to come to our area and quickly sent word out,” said Upton ward councillor Matt Bryan. “Mr Gallagher clearly does not understand the issues of fracking in the Chester area.”

But the Conservatives are adamant it was a stunt and maintain Mr Gallagher understands the concern of local residents.

“Will Gallagher has made it clear that he is opposed to fracking in Chester,” said the spokesman.

Mrs Southward said: ''I thought they were both hypocritical on their stance to fracking. 

“We all know why Mr Gallagher is saying he will support the anti-frackers!”

“Maybe he has changed his position just to get more votes here,” said Upton resident Lil Chapman. “I walked around the corner and joined my neighbours to make our views known.”

“Gallagher said he’s not in favour of fracking in Chester,” said Upton mother Tonia Darlington. “But we want an MP who opposes fracking everywhere – not just in our back garden to gain our votes.”