Labour take the city of Chester seat by narrow 93 votes

Reporter:

Neil Bellis

LABOUR dramatically pipped the Conservatives to win the City of Chester seat by a margin of just 93. 

Chris Matheson has been elected as the city's MP unseating Stephen Mosley after one term in office.

This was despite an awful night across the country for Labour as they lost almost all their seats in Scotland to the SNP and lost previously safe seats in England and Wales. 

Labour performed slightly better in the North West by winning Chester and unseating Ester McVey on the Wirral.

In fact Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP all increased their number of votes in the city with only the Liberal Democrats losing significant ground in the city. 

After a recount the returning officer Stephen Robinson announced that Labour's Chris Matheson won 22,118 votes, Conservative Stephen Mosley 22,025 votes, UKIP's Stephen Ingram won 4,148 votes with the Liberal Democrat Bob Thompson trailing in last with 2,870 votes. 

Labour gained 8.2 per cent, UKIP 5.5 per cent, Conservatives 2.5 per cent and the Liberal Democrat vote crashed by 13.5 per cent. 

Turnout in the constituency was 70.8 per cent and the swing to Labour from the Conservatives was 2.8 per cent. 

Mr Matheson said: "It was a really tough campaign, we always knew it would be close and I have to say in Chester it has been a fair campaign as well.

"I'm just very grateful to have been given this huge responsibility by the city of Chester and it is a responsibility I will bear with good grace and dignity to the best of my ability. 

"My priority is the people of the city of Chester. I want to hit the ground running and do the best I can for them. If you are going to do the job properly you have to treat every constituency as a marginal, you have to treat every person as your top priority and represent them to the best of your ability. 

"I'm very tired. It has been a long tough night." 

Outgoing MP Stephen Mosley said: "It is disappointing, it has been a fantastic privilege to represent the city and I have really enjoyed it and I think we have achieved a lot in the past five years in the city.

"We have seen youth unemployment go down to record levels, there are more opportunities for young people, we have seen a big growth in organisations like the university. There is a lot to be proud and I can go out with my head held high. 

"It is good for the country [the Conservative win] and Chester but I'm only sorry that I won't be part that. 

"All I want to do now is go home, go to sleep and look forward to the rest of my life. I ran my own business beforehand and I'm sure I'll go back into that." 

Bob Thompson said the Lib Dems lost ground because of the "bad vibes" from going into coalition. He said: "It would appear from the early exit polls that we have picked up all the bad vibes from being the junior partner. 

"Whether we would work with the Conservatives again will be a matter for the Lib Dem party, not the leaders of the Lib Dems."

Cllr Thompson, who is standing down as a councillor after 20 years, admitted that this evening would be his retirement from politics. 

He said: "I've been looking at the same problems in Chester for 20 years now. I believe it is time to move on and let fresh eyes look at them.

"I have loved being a councillor, I have enjoyed helping and supporting people to help improve the quality of their streets, communities and lives. I have always had a buzz about that. 

"I have a few projects lined up. Politics is very time consuming, it is long hours and you are available seven days a week. I want to have more time for me. I'm very interested in history so I will do some projects, do a bit of writing and some travel." 

Stephen Ingram, UKIP candidate, said it had been a "surreal day" but that he was "very proud" to be doing "the right thing for my country" by standing.

He said: "If you asked me three years ago if I would be doing this I would have laughed you out of town. I'm very proud to be doing this. 

"I'm proud of our campaign, we are a small party but with a lot of heart. 

"Whatever happens I know I did the right thing for my country." 

See full story in the Chester Leader

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