HIGH profile MP Tom Watson has helped to launch Labour’s fight to retain the Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency at the General Election.
The MP for West Bromwich East, who famously took on Rupert Murdoch and News International over the phone hacking scandal and now has 163,000 followers on Twitter, was the special guest at a fundraising evening.
Whitby Sports and Social Club was the venue for ‘An Evening with Tom Watson MP’ organised by Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour Party to launch candidate Justin Madders’ bid to take the seat in the May 7 General Election.
Mr Watson took part in a question and answer session with Andrew Miller, who is standing down as MP for the constituency.
Mr Miller, chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, was thanked for his work by Tony Woodley, former joint secretary of the Unite union and an Ellesmere Port resident, for the “23 years you have served this community” and also Mr Miller’s wife Fran.
“You have been a great MP,” said Mr Woodley, who also gave Mr Madders his endorsement, saying there had been a good standard of applicant for the job of prospective MP and he never had any doubt Mr Madders was the best of them.
Mr Woodley, who also described Mr Watson as a “fantastic campaigner” for the Labour cause, said it was not going to be an easy election and highlighted that Ellesmere Port had some of the poorest wards in the country.
He hit out at Coalition Government policies and highlighted the “absolutely crucial battle” against ever-increasing numbers of zero hours contracts and the fight against more “irresponsible” privatisation of the National Health Service.
Mr Woodley said the challenge the get Mr Madders elected was one “real Labour people are up for to ensure one decent man is followed by another decent man”.
Mr Madders and his wife, Nicole Meardon, have three children and live in Little Sutton. Both are serving Cheshire West and Chester councillors. Mr Madders led the Labour group on the local authority but stepped down on selection as parliamentary candidate.
He is an employment relations solicitor for Chester-based Walker Smith Way.
2010 General Election result in Ellesmere Port and Neston: Andrew Miller (Lab) 19,750, Stuart Penketh (Con) 15,419, Denise Aspinall (Lib Dem) 6,663, Henry Crocker (Ukip) 1,619, Jonathan Starkey (Ind) 782.
Majority: 4,331. Turnout: 70.1 per cent.