Labour opposition leader on Cheshire West and Chester Council and Ellesmere Port Town ward borough councillor Justin Madders has been selected by the party faithful as their prospective parliamentary candidate to succeed MP Andrew Miller.
Mr Miller is standing down from the green benches of Westminster after serving the area since 1992 when he wrested the seat from the Tories.
At the 2010 general election he gained 19750 votes giving him a majority of 4331 on a 70% turn out.
The vote to select Cllr Madders, an employment lawyer who is married with three children, came after a shortlist of six candidates had been heard by party members in the Sea Cadet HQ in Ellesmere Port on Saturday (June 7).
Following his selection, Cllr Madders said:“I am honoured to have been chosen as Labour’s candidate to represent the people of Ellesmere Port and Neston.
“As someone who has grown up in the area I know the place well and the challenges we face.
“I will stand up for the people of Ellesmere Port and Neston.
“Life seems to have got harder for most people under this Government and I want to do what I can to make life better for the many people who have seen their living standards drop in the last four years.
“I know from my work as a councillor how difficult people are finding things and I want to do my bit to create a better future for us all.
“I’ll always do what is best for Ellesmere Port and Neston.”
Cllr Madders was leader of the former borough council and became leader of the Labour opposition on Cheshire West and Chester following the death of Cllr Derek Bateman.
Prior to his selection he said:“I grew up in the constituency and became the first person in my family to go to university where I gained a Law degree.
“I qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and at the same time I became a councillor and began my career in employment law defending the rights of working people to be treated fairly and with dignity at work.
“I only represent employees and trade union members including those who work at local employers such as Vauxhall's and Quinn Glass.
“If selected, I will continue to stand up for those most in need be they trade union members victimised at work for their beliefs or the most vulnerable in our community hit by the Tory’s inhumane welfare reforms .
“I have always conducted myself with honesty and integrity and will continue to do so if elected as your MP.
“I’ll make sure the people of Ellesmere Port and Neston are represented with energy and passion to ensure we get the very best for our constituency”.
Among the other shortlisted candidates was Sutton ward borough councillor Paul Donovan, Cllr Madders’s chief whip in the Labour group and a councillor for 14 years.
Cllr Donovan, a trade unionist at Vauxhall's, had said the outcome would not affect his longstanding friendship with Cllr Madders.
He described the outcome as ‘close’ and added:“ Congratulations to Justin Madders, he will make a great MP.
“A big thanks to everyone who supported me and to Unite the Union who supported me every step of the way.
“It has been a pleasure to meet members across Ellesmere Port and Neston.
“Thank you for taking the time to invite me into your homes to share your thoughts, ideas and hopes for the future.
“It’s been a privilege to meet so many people who care so deeply about our shared values and our movement.”
He also expressed commiserations to contender Liverpool city councillor Dan Hughes who has campaigned for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster and said he had run ‘a good campaign’.
Cllr Hughes had pledged action on youth unemployment and regeneration and vowed to ‘take on’ Mike Jones and the Tory council
He promised to fight for jobs and opportunities for unemployed young people and for the ‘long overdue’ regeneration of Ellesmere Port town centre.
The full list of candidates was: Dan Hughes, Paul Donovan, Justin Madders, Julie McManus, Jacqueline Robinson and Nabil Shabbir.