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Upton anti-fracking group backs Labour's Chris Matheson

Group also praises Lib Dem candidate but claims Tory man didn't respond to their approach

Labour's Chester parliamentary candidate Chris Matheson pictured at the former anti-fracking camp off Duttons Lane, Upton.

A leading anti-fracking campaign is publicly backing Labour parliamentary candidate Chris Matheson to be re-elected as Chester’s MP.

Frack Free Upton, which led the fight against plans for an exploratory test drill off Duttons Lane, was supported by Mr Matheson whose anti-fracking stance is credited with helping him get elected in 2015.

And the group’s latest newsletter backs the Labour candidate who enjoys a wafer thin 93-vote majority.

There is no choice of a Green Party candidate as a deal was struck for them to not run against Mr Matheson in such a key battleground seat.

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16, 2016.

The newsletter says the views of all three candidates on fracking were canvassed with ‘good’ responses received from both Labour and the Lib Dems’ Lizzie Jewkes but ‘nothing’ from Tory candidate Will Gallagher.

It concludes: “Chris Matheson and his party have the edge, having stood and done more to oppose fracking and support the frack free movement in Chester and nationally.”

A delighted Mr Matheson commented: “It’s something I have put a lot of work into and I’m pleased that the Labour Party nationally now has an anti-fracking policy which is something I have been pushing for over a long time.”

Lib Dem candidate Lizzie Jewkes

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto also opposes fracking.

And Chester candidate Mrs Jewkes is disappointed at not gaining Frack Free Upton’s endorsement as she feels the Lib Dems’ green credentials are far better than Labour.

She said: “The Lib Dems’ track record in government is far better than Labour. We set up the green investment bank and brought in so many initiatives to get renewable energy on the agenda. Labour did nothing when they were in power.”

Mrs Jewkes claims Labour is often stymied in pursuing green policies because of opposition from their trade union backers.

Will Gallagher, Conservative candidate for Chester

The Conservatives are committed to allowing the controversial process of fracking for shale gas in Britain. But the party manifesto makes clear there will need to be public support for such schemes.

And Chester candidate Will Gallagher told The Chronicle: “As I’ve made clear all along, I’m opposed to fracking in Chester.

"I’m pleased that whichever candidate wins, we all share that view. Therefore, the real choice at this election is whether to back Chris Matheson - Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour candidate, or me, who will work with Theresa May to get the best deal for this city, protecting jobs and securing our economy.”

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