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Election 2015: Chester won by Labour in historic victory over Conservatives

Chris Matheson becomes new MP for city as Stephen Mosley is defeated by just 93 votes

New Chester MP Chris Matheson celebrates victory for Labour at the Northgate Arena
New Chester MP Chris Matheson celebrates victory for Labour at the Northgate Arena

Labour has secured an historic election victory by winning the City of Chester and defeating the Conservatives by the narrowest of margins.

A long, tense night at the Northgate Arena had to be decided by a recount which saw Labour candidate Chris Matheson emerge triumphant and left previous Tory MP Stephen Mosley facing the despair of defeat.

The margin of victory was just 93 which makes it one of the most marginal seats in the country but that won’t bother Labour supporters in the city who will welcome a key victory in an otherwise disappointing night for the party nationally.

It is the first time for decades that Chester has voted contrary to the majority of the nation which unexpectedly seems on the verge of returning David Cameron to Downing Street with an overall majority.

This makes the Chester defeat a major embarrassment for the local Conservative Party which steered Mr Mosley to victory in 2010 when he took the seat back from Labour’s Christine Russell who was originally elected as part of the Blair landslide in 1997.

The Chester result was originally due to be declared at about 4am but almost two hours later, a recount was announced. Eventually, the result was declared about 7.15am.

Liberal Democrat candidate Bob Thompson had admitted earlier in the day that he expected to finish in fourth place behind UKIP candidate Steve Ingram which is what happened by a margin much greater than the one which separated the top two parties.

As race-goers prepared to get ready for a day at the races, Chester’s newly-elected member of parliament addressed his jubilant backers at the count.

Mr Matheson told reporters afterwards: “It’s been a really tough campaign. We always knew it was going to be close. We ran a fantastic campaign. I have to say it was a fair campaign as well.

“I’m just very grateful to have been elected and given this huge responsibility by the city of Chester and it’s a responsibility I will bear with good grace and with dignity to the very best of my ability.”

He said he was ‘extremely tired’ but may well ‘be exhilarated shortly’ and would consider celebrating with ‘the odd jar’ later but for now a cup of tea would suffice.

Mr Matheson split opinion both inside and outside his party when selected to fight the Chester seat.

Supporters of rival candidate Cllr Samantha Dixon, who once worked for ex-city MP Christine Russell, were left disappointed.

This was against a background of claims the trade union Unite, who employ Mr Matheson and support his candidacy, was involved in a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to get him elected. Such accusations have always been staunchly denied.

However, Cllr Dixon subsequently became Labour opposition leader on Cheshire West and Chester Council and will find out later today if she will retain her seat and possibly become council leader.

Mr Matheson, who studied at the London School of Economics, believes most people share his desire to see hard work rewarded. He says he stands for Labour values of ‘decency, fairness and equality’.

An Everton fan, the new MP hails from Daresbury and is married to Katherine, originally from Ellesmere Port, with two daughters, both at school in Chester.

A dejected Stephen Mosley was gracious in defeat. He threw everything at his campaign with support from David Cameron himself, who visited the city no fewer than three times, and potential future Tory leader Boris Johnson, who helped fundraise and meet the voters.

Mr Mosley, 42, who lives in Westminster Park with his wife Caroline and their two children, said: “I’m going to go home, have a sleep and look forward to the rest of my life.”

As for the future, Mr Mosley wishes to take time out to replenish his energy but hinted he will go back into the world of business.

Lib Dem candidate Bob Thompson, 59, never expected to win but the end of the election campaign marks a major change in his life as he also steps down from the council after 40 years’ service to local government.

Mr Thompson, who lives with his partner Rose in Hoole, hopes to use his greater free time to brush up on his French and pursue history projects.

Steve Ingram, for Ukip, is exhausted after a pursuing a passionate campaign while also running his own business, but proud of his efforts in raising his party’s profile. The 50-year-old has also stood for Ukip on Cheshire West and Chester Council in Blacon, where he lives with his family, but must wait until later today to find out if he has been elected.

The question now is whether the parliamentary result will be reflected in the Cheshire West and Chester Council election results which are due to be announced throughout the afternoon.

The question now is whether the parliamentary result will be reflected in the Cheshire West and Chester Council election results which are due to be announced throughout the afternoon.


Chris Matheson (Lab) 22,118

Stephen Mosley (Con) 22,025

Stephen Ingram (Ukip) 4,148

Bob Thompson (Lib Dem) 2,870

Turnout was 70.79%

On twitter...

One Labour voter got carried away on Titter and accidentally congratulated the wrong Chris Matheson:


David Holmes
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