ELLESMERE Port and Neston MP Justin Madders has slammed the fact the town was missed off the Government's new Towns Fund in favour of Tory target seats as "a pre-election bribe".

The Labour MP said Ellesmere Port had been "left on the scrapheap again" after it was announced 100 towns would receive a share of £3.6 billion funding to develop regeneration plans in 'left-behind towns'.

The fund caught the eye of Mr Madders as the town had narrowly missed out on winning a bid in its previous guise – the Future High Streets Fund – earlier this year.

Mr Madders made enquiries to two government departments for further information on which towns would be receiving the new fund and how those towns had been decided upon, with the Cabinet Office responding in the first instance to say they held no information on the fund, and then in early September the Ministry for Homes, Communities & Local Government responding that it was too costly to collate and share the information.

The very next day however, the names of the first 100 towns eligible for support were published, and Ellesmere Port was not on the list.​

Analysis of the 100 towns set to receive money from the Government pot has led many to believe that they were chosen for electioneering purposes, as many are marginal seats that the Conservative party would either need to hold on to or win from Labour or other opposition parties in a general election.

An investigation by the Manchester Evening News reported that a political analyst from Manchester University described the list as looking like an obvious electoral strategy. ​

The towns are spread across 111 parliamentary constituencies, most of which are in the midlands and the north of England. Over half of the constituencies have a parliamentary majority of less than 5,000 votes, with 20 of those having a majority of less than 1,000.

Ellesmere Port and Neston, meanwhile, had a Labour majority of more than 10,000 at the last election. ​

Speaking at the Convention of the North in Rotherham on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed claims of political bias.​

Mr Madders said: “Yet again, the Tories are putting party above country. As with the Future High Streets Fund, where the majority of the new towns that were added to the list at the end of August just happened to be from Conservative constituencies, most of the towns to benefit from this new fund are target seats for the Tories ahead of a possible election.​

“When I asked for details of the basis upon which towns would be allocated this funding I was astonished that the Cabinet Office claimed to have no information on this whatsoever.

"What kind of Government makes a multi-billion-pound spending announcement without a scrap of paper to back it up?

"Since then we have been led a merry dance by Government departments who clearly don’t want to explain themselves - the money is clearly a pre-election bribe and I am outraged that my town has been left on the scrapheap again because the Tories are playing political games.”