PARLIAMENTARY candidates were put under the spotlight at a Chester Business Club ‘Any Questions’ event.

Held at the Crowne Plaza in the city centre, the Westminster hopefuls fielded questions on a  variety of topics from the economy, education, small businesses, student loans, the environment, nationalisation and adult social care.

The session was chaired by Jim Hancock, a former political editor of BBC North West.

He thanked the City of Chester candidates for their attendance and pointed out some constituencies were struggling to get their prospective MPs in the same room together for a debate.

Pictured: Chester Business Club Vice Chairman Paddy Gill, Chris Matheson, Jim Hancock former BBC North West Political Correspondant, Lizzie Jewkes and Will Gallagher

He reminded the audience that Chester was a key seat and at the last election two years ago Labour took Chester from the Conservatives by just 93 votes.

He then started the event by asking the candidates for their election pledges.

Conservative candidate Will Gallagher said he was born and brought up in Chester and had run his parents’ business.

He said his priorities, if elected, would be getting Brexit right for Chester so the city did not miss out, to lock in the economy and improve economic growth, bring the city centre to life by encouraging more tourism and business, improve the transport infrastructure and build more affordable homes.

Liberal Democrat candidate Lizzie Jewkes said she would encourage individuals’ potential and entrepreneurs. She said her proudest moment was her paper on raising the income tax threshold being on the front cover of the Liberal Democrats’ 2010 manifesto and implemented by them while they were in coalition government with the Conservatives.

Chris Matheson, Labour’s sitting MP for Chester, said his two year record spoke for itself.

He said he had turned down frontbench roles to concentrate all his efforts on Chester.

He said he had been proud to serve Chester and would continue to do so. He said he had made progress on improving the city’s broadband but appreciated there was still more work to be done. He said the re-opening of the Castle, bit by bit would be slow but would have an important role to play in improving tourism and the city’s economy. He said he wanted to help the city continue to grow economically and wanted to see an end to short-term employment and zero-hours contracts.