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Wannabe Chester MPs tell you why you should vote for them

Labour incumbent says back me on my record, Tory says don't put Corbyn in power and Lib Dem wants a strong Brexit deal

 

All three parliamentary candidates for the City of Chester constituency have recorded a video explaining why the electorate should vote for them in Thursday’s general election (June 8).

Labour’s Chris Matheson is defending a wafer thin 93-vote majority after pipping Tory incumbent Stephen Mosley to the post in 2015.

He has built up an impressive personal following but must be wondering whether that will be enough to hold back the Tory tide even though the polls are narrowing.

Chester Labour parliamentary candidate Chris Matheson

Mr Matheson, 49, who lives in Hoole with wife Kathy and their two daughters, said: “I’ve only been the MP for two years but I’m proud of the record that we’ve got so far whether it’s trying to sort out some of the traffic problems in the area, whether it’s trying to get extra investment for our motorways – which so far our Conservative ministers have declined – trying to invest in our railways, to improve transport infrastructure and links between here and Liverpool, whether it’s bringing broadband, Virgin and BT, into Chester or opening The Castle, it’s a record I’m proud of.

“Looking to the future I want a country that works for everyone. We have record low productivity. We’ve got wages that are lower now than seven years ago when the Conservatives came into power.

"We’ve got unemployment rising in Chester, things just aren’t working. We have a weak economy and I want to give real prosperity to everyone in Chester and an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few at the top.”

Chris Matheson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Matheson, a graduate from the London School of Economics, who previously worked as a manager in the electricity industry and for the Unite trade union, has been damning in his criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But now he wants the electorate to install him in number 10. Why has he changed his mind?

“My criticism of Jeremy in the past was he wasn’t doing enough to reach out to people who are not naturally Labour voters but in this general election campaign we have seen that he absolutely is. He’s winning people over from all across the political spectrum, including people who felt disaffected by politics and have drifted away. Its his values of decency, tolerance and respect and his desire for a better world that is attracting people.”

Chester Conservative parliamentary candidate Will Gallagher

Tory rival Will Gallagher, 35, was born at the Countess of Chester Hospital and grew up in Hoole, attending The Firs School, The King’s School and later Cambridge University. He has worked for the family-run Gallaghers Mitsubishi dealership at Sandycroft in Deeside, as special advisor to justice secretary Chris Grayling and as a former operations director for the National Citizen Service.

Since early 2017 he has been strategic director for East West Rail, a new infrastructure project to link Oxford and Cambridge by train, but says he has now ‘stepped down’ to pursue his political ambitions. Mr Gallagher, who is not married, is currently living with his family in Hough Green.

He said: “Look, it’s going to be very close here in Chester. I’m Chester born and bred. I want the best for this city and if elected I will work hard every day to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here. That means getting the right Brexit deal for Chester because jobs and businesses and families will be directly affected.

Government minister Chris Grayling and Chester Conservative candidate Will Gallagher being pursued through Upton by anti-fracking campaigners(Image: UGC)

“It means locking in the economic progress we’ve made, creating jobs, starting new businesses. It means bringing our city centre to life with thriving shops, making the most of our history. It means better transport infrastructure, dealing with some of the traffic pinch points and improving our train services.

“It also means making Chester a city that works for everyone with more affordable family housing and the infrastructure that goes with it. Chester has a unique position in this election because the decision here will influence the outcome of the election as a whole and a vote for anyone other than me makes it more likely that Jeremy Corbyn will be your Prime Minister on June 9.”

The Chronicle has heard murmurings from local Tories that many were upset at local activist Simon Eardley being removed from the list of candidates at the selection meeting where Mr Gallagher was chosen. The suggestion is that some have been unwilling to campaign for Mr Gallagher, with one prominent Tory apparently claiming they would rather vote for Chris Matheson.

Mr Gallagher responded: “There was a selection meeting and I was selected.”

Chester Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Lizzie Jewkes

Lib Dem candidate Lizzie Jewkes, 59, is a grandmother and mother-of-four who lives with husband Kurt in Ellesmere Port. She runs her own management consultancy business. Mrs Jewkes is an experienced party member who first stood for parliament in 1992 and joined the party at the age of 27, in 1984.

She lays claim to being the one who came up with the idea, adopted by the Con-Lib coalition under Cameron and Clegg’s leadership, of raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, meaning the low paid wouldn’t pay any income tax.

She said: “The majority of people in Chester voted 'Remain' and Chester really needs an MP who will stand up for that and will fight to get the best possible deal and people are telling me that they are really concerned that Corbyn will not negotiate a good deal and May is blithely talking about not getting a deal at all.

Lib Dem candidate Lizzie Jewkes

"We are committed to getting the best deal possible. We believe that Britain is better off in Europe and we will fight really hard to make sure the British people do not lose out over this because, after all, most people in Chester didn’t vote to leave.”

Mrs Jewkes is aware the Lib Dems are trailing in the polls but pointed out: “Can I just point out the polls said that ‘Leave’ would lose. The polls said Trump would lose. The polls said that there would be a hung parliament in 2015 and all of these have been wrong.”

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